Head coach Billy Hallman knew it would be a test early on in the Colonial League hoops landscape. And for the first quarter, Northwestern seemed up for the challenge.
But when all was said and done, Southern Lehigh and its experience proved to be too much over the final three quarters.
The accolades continue to pile up. And history continues to be made for the Northwestern girls’ cross country team.
The Lady Tiger harriers added another chapter to that ever-growing book last week. Led by top-three finishes by sophomore Molly Tarvin and freshman Maddie Consuelos, the Northwestern girls secured their fifth straight league cross country championship last Thursday at DeSales University.
It’s a bit ironic.
The last time the Northwestern girls cross country team lost in a regular season league meet was on October 13, 2010. Exactly five years ago to the day, the Lady Tiger harriers were on the verge of keeping their unbeaten league streak alive well into the 100s.
On Tuesday evening, the Lady Tigers did just that. Northwestern defeated all four teams (Moravian Academy, Notre Dame-Green Pond, Palisades and Saucon Valley) in their regular season finale at Palmerton High School that pushed their winning streak to 129 contests.
Northwestern had only been shut out twice prior to Thursday’s Colonial League matchup against Palisades. The only time that happened in Colonial League play was in the second week of the season against unbeaten Saucon Valley, 2-0.
Unfortunately for the Tigers (11-3 overall, 8-2 in Colonial League), that happened once again on Thursday night when the Pirates (11-3-2, 8-2) used two goals just over four minutes apart in the second half to secure a much-needed win at Palisades High School.
Sabrina Mertz may just be a freshman at Lehigh, but she’s already making plenty of noise for the Mountain Hawks’ soccer team.
Just last week, two news stories on the womens soccer team’s homepage featured photos of Mertz in Lehigh’s famous brown and white jerseys. She has six goals (team-high) and two assists in the first eight games for 14 points. And it was exactly 10 days ago that she was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week.
Even with the Bulls just coming off a five-run inning in the top of the third, Limeport co-manager Mike Cudwadie had a few words for his teammates and players going into the fourth: "We're not done yet."
The Bulls' offense certainly wasn't finished, but that would have been more than enough with pitcher Jared Schaffer dealing on the mound.
After a pair of deflating losses in Games 3 and 4 of their Blue Mountain League semifinals matchup against Northampton, Limeport co-manager Mike Cudwadie knew two things: The Bulls needed a quick start and their bats needed to come alive in Game 5.
Limeport scored 15 runs in Games 1 and 2 of that series to take a 2-0 lead. But the bats seemed to disappear after Northampton evened the series at two games apiece and held the Bulls to just one run.
It's hard not to take notice of Sabrina Mertz's and Sarah Segan's relationship.
The two spent nearly every high school sports season competing with one another, by each other's side. The 2013 track and field season was the exception, as Segan didn't take on the sport until 2014. But for all four years, it was soccer in the spring and basketball in the winter, with Mertz and Segan side by side. The two even grew up playing on similar youth teams.
Just a week ago, it looked as if the road to another championship appearance in the Blue Mountain League would be easy for Limeport.
The Bulls, who finished the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at 25-11, quickly built a 2-0 series lead against the Northampton Giants. A pitching spectacle from ace Adam Maini in Game 1 led to an 8-0 win. A 7-5 victory the next day brought the Bulls within one win of their fourth championship appearance in six years.
Coming into the summer, Northwestern head coach Nate Hunsicker had high expectations for the Tiger boys soccer team.
And why wouldn't he? Northwestern lost just three conferences games in the Colonial League last season and finished as district runner-up. Before that, the Tigers had a successful summer in the Lehigh Valley Summer Soccer League. But the biggest sign of optimism is that the Tigers graduated just two senior starters from last year-Brandon Herb and Cody Gangaware.