Northwestern Lehigh reached the PIAA field hockey tournament for the second straight season, this time as district champions. The district gold is the school’s first since 2004 and comes on the heels of being district runners-up last season. While the program is quickly gaining respect and seeing better results in the postseason, it hasn’t come overnight.
Head coach Lissa Opolsky took over the program in 2014 after the team had missed reaching districts in each of the past two seasons. Opolsky didn’t bring any magic potions with her and the Tigers again missed districts in 2014.
If Northwestern had written the script for how last Friday night would play out, the Tigers would have gotten it all right except for one detail. They beat Catasauqua 47-0 to handle their part of the script and then saw Pottsville and Bethlehem Catholic both lose to keep Northwestern on top of the District 11 Class 4A rankings.
The only bad part of the movie was when Southern Lehigh beat Salisbury, forcing the Tigers and Spartans to share – at least officially – the Colonial League championship.
A streak of nine consecutive wins for the Northwestern Lehigh football team sends it to the District 11 Class 4A playoffs as the top-seeded team. The Tigers open their quest for a district championship Saturday night when they host Lehighton (3-7) in the district quarterfinal game at Tiger Stadium.
The latest battle in Northwestern Lehigh’s quest for a return to the boys PIAA soccer tournament turned out to look more like a skirmish than a full-fledged battle, but make no mistake about it, the Tigers were in a battle.
Northwestern turned a 1-0 halftime deficit into a 4-1 win and a trip to the Class 3A semifinals in District 11.
The margin of victory doesn’t really matter. That’s a good thing for the Northwestern Lehigh field hockey team, because they’ve been winning by the slimmest of margins. But it’s getting them to where they want to be.
It only takes one seems to be the rally cry of the Lady Tigers as they head toward the Class A district final after a 1-0 win over Saucon Valley Monday night.
“It’s playoffs,”said head coach Lissa Opolsky of the close string of games. “You can’t expect anything else in playoffs, because your record, your numbers, nothing else matters in playoffs.
The Northwestern football team opened the season with a 42-35 loss to Notre Dame. Since then, the Tigers have won eight straight games, including knocking off previously undefeated Southern Lehigh in week seven.
From that point on, Northwestern has been tied for the best record in the Colonial League with the Spartans and a win in the final week of the season guarantees at least a share of the league title.
If both Northwestern and Southern Lehigh win or lose in week 10, they would share the Colonial League championship.
The annual Mountain Road Rumble between Northwestern Lehigh and Northern Lehigh started out being all Bulldogs as they opened the game with 17 unanswered points in the first half. Northwestern regrouped at halftime and handled the Bulldogs in the second half to escape with a 28-24 win.
Northern Lehigh (5-4) had success running the ball early and used multiple backs to pick up yardage. Five different players had multiple carries in the first 24 minutes of the game as the Bulldogs put up 200 yards of total offense, compared to just 63 yards for Northwestern at the half.
Football teams that rely mostly on their running game have had a tough time this season against Northwestern.
The Tigers’ defense just doesn’t give up much on the ground and for the second week in a row an opponent found out that ground-and-pound doesn’t work against the Northwestern defense.
Saucon Valley (5-3) threw just seven passes all night, with the first two being picked off by Northwestern defenders. In the end, Northwestern walked off with a 36-0 win to move to 7-1 on the season.
The Northwestern and Salisbury girls soccer teams have already played twice this season and it won’t be surprising if they meet for a third time when the district playoffs get underway.
When they met early in the season, the teams battled with the Tigers getting a 2-1 win over the Falcons. After that game, both coaches talked about the playoff atmosphere of the game and predicted they would meet again in the postseason.
The two teams met Tuesday night in the Colonial League semifinals and played 80 minutes with the same 2-1 outcome in favor of Northwestern Lehigh (17-2-0).
The Northwestern boys soccer team used a matchup against Freedom on Saturday as a gauge on where it is heading toward the postseason.
The result was at 4-2 win for Northwestern in a nonconference game that wrapped up the home portion of the regular season for the Tigers. They finished the regular season Monday playing a scoreless tie with Notre Dame (East Stroudsburg). Northwestern finished the regular season 12-3-3 overall and 9-2-1 in the Colonial League.