Northwestern Lehigh cheerleaders placed fourth in the Game Day Division at the Colonial League Cheerleading Championships last Wednesday at Catasauqua High School.
“In my mind, they are winners no matter what,” said Northwestern Lehigh first-year head coach Kate Petcavage. “They hit everything in their routine. They had a mini-thing happen, but they saved it.”
There are times when a team can look back on a loss and pinpoint exactly where things went wrong. For Northwestern Lehigh, it’s the second quarter of its 42-21 loss to Saucon Valley. Ryan Haas had caught a big 58-yard touchdown pass from Deven Bollinger to put the Tigers up 14-7. On Saucon Valley’s next possession, the Tigers shut them down on a big fourth-down play to give Northwestern the ball with time winding down in the first quarter.
That’s where things went wrong.
After Northwestern Lehigh’s football season came to an end with a 42-21 loss to Saucon Valley Saturday night, coach Josh Snyder was asked if he thought his team had slightly overachieved in 2018.
The key to stopping Saucon Valley this week will surely be containing Panther running back Ian Csicsek, who averages over 200 yards per game and gashed Lehighton for over 200 last week in a district playoff win.
Football fans outside of New Tripoli might not know it, but the play that helped the Eagles win Super Bowl 52 and came to be known as The Philly Special was originally the New Tripoli Special. Northwestern varsity football head coach Josh Snyder had used the play in the past, prior to Super Bowl 52. He used it again Saturday night in a district playoff game against Allentown Central Catholic and it worked to perfection as part of Northwestern’s 50-13 win over the Vikings.
Northwestern Lehigh may have had a very sound game plan to face Lehighton in the District 11 field hockey finals, but we’ll never know. Coach Lissa Opolsky had a tough time getting her players to stick to the plan and the result was a 2-0 loss to the Indians. The win gave Lehighton its first district championship since 2010.
Chris Stitzel gathered his team, much like he does before every race.
But this time was different.
The Northwestern cross country coach knew what was on the line. Coming off Colonial League and District 11 titles, Stitzel was well aware the Tigers entered Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country Championships with a realistic opportunity to contend in the Class 2A field.
In what was perhaps their best played game of the season, the Northwestern football team went into Illick Stadium at Saucon Valley High School and beat the previously undefeated Panthers 49-28 back in October.
Saucon Valley also fell the next week to Notre Dame (Green Pond) and the Tigers and Panthers finished with identical 8-2 records. When the brackets for district playoffs were released, Northwestern and Saucon Valley were set for a rematch in the semifinals and with both teams winning last week, the rematch is on.
Offensive pressure is key in most sports and field hockey is no exception. Whichever team can control the ball in the opposition’s defensive zone throughout that game usually comes away with the victory.
In the first half of opening round play of the PIAA Class A state tournament, New Hope-Solebury dominated in that aspect against Northwestern Lehigh, scoring two goals off that pressure. The two goals were all the Lions needed to advance as they defeated the Tigers 2-0n.
Northwestern outshot Saucon Valley 12-1. The Tigers also held a 12-1 advantage in corner kicks. And the top-seeded, three-time defending district champion Tigers dominated time of possession the entire second half.
But when all was said and done, the only stat that mattered was the 1-0 final score in favor of Saucon Valley.