Harrison Bernard knows what it’s like to stand on the medal stand at the District 11 tournament. He also knows what it’s like to come up short.
The Tiger senior placed fourth at districts two years ago, but last year he came up short in a highly competitive 138-pound weight class, going 2-2 at districts.
“It was kind of a wake-up call that I have to put in more work if I want to do better this year,” Bernhard said. “I have to not use it as an excuse that there were good kids in my weight. I should have done better.”
When Matt Shields looked around for colleges, he ultimately decided to stick fairly close to home and attend a school that had a good business management program and a good football team to be a part of. He found all that he was looking for when he committed to playing at Moravian after graduating from Northwestern Lehigh in 2016.
Now, his football career as a Greyhound is over after a season-ending loss to rival Muhlenberg this past Saturday and he’s closing in on graduation next spring.
The Northwestern Lehigh football season got underway with a disappointing loss to Notre Dame (Green Pond) on the road.
From there though, the Tigers got on a roll that carried them to a share of the Colonial League championship and deep into districts where only a pair of bad calls kept them from reaching the district championship.
Over the next five weeks, Northwestern ran through the schedule by beating its opponents by a combined score of 205-64 as the Tigers put themselves back into position to battle for a league championship.
From a senior who was named a first-team All-State player to a freshman goalkeeper who was thrown into the job unexpectedly, the Lady Tigers have gotten contributions from players with varying degrees of varsity experience. Saturday, they showed their versatility in a win over Allentown Central Catholic that made Northwestern District 11 champions.
For Northwestern Lehigh field hockey, it’s all been about adding steps to the success of the program. The team reached states last season, but lost in the first round.
This season the Tigers were looking for a win and a trip to the quarterfinals, but that step wound up being a stumble when Newport High School eliminated the Tigers in a 3-0 game at Emmaus High School Tuesday, finishing the Northwestern season at 17-5-1.
Northwestern sent two cross country teams to states for the first time since 2013 after the boys and girls captured district titles two weeks ago.
The Tigers placed 14th in the boys Class 2A team standings Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships, and were led by Matthew Santana’s 130th-place finish (18:09).
“It felt good to get this experience, and to know what it feels like to make it to states,” said Santana. “I thought it was good to experience it, and to be able to do it as a team.”
After nearly 170 minutes of scoreless soccer in two games, someone was going to need that one special play to break the invisible barrier on the front of the net and win the game. For Northwestern Lehigh, it came in the form of a bicycle kick delivered by Jeff Garcia. The goal, which made ESPN’s Top 10 Highlights, featured a key component that even the Northwestern coach wasn’t aware of until after the game.
When Northwestern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh meet in soccer, don’t figure on too many goals being scored. The two teams played to a scoreless tie in their regular season meeting and the District 11 final was no different.
The two teams played 80 minutes of scoreless soccer again, but this time there had to be a winner. In the ninth minute of overtime, Jeff Garcia used a spectacular bicycle kick to break the scoreless tie and send Northwestern to a 1-0 win and back into states for the fourth time in five seasons.
You can’t plan the heroics that Bailey Groff came up with. All she was trying to do was get the ball into position for one of her teammates to make a play, but she ended up scoring a goal.
Groff’s goal – and another by teammate Kylie Zentz – led Northwestern to a 2-0 win over Allentown Central Catholic in the District 11 Class 2A girls soccer finals. It also sends Northwestern to the PIAA tournament.
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.