Log In

Reset Password

Unbeaten Bears win EPC title

NORTHAMPTON - Pleasant Valley jumped out to a 6-0 first-half lead and never relinquished it in a 9-4 victory over Emmaus for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls lacrosse championship.

“I’m so impressed with my team and our coaches,” said Pleasant Valley head coach Toni Bush. “These girls work so hard. Their work begins in the summer for a bunch of them. Our (success) is a combination of them playing together and working extremely hard to be successful.

“We look at every game as a new opportunity to get better. I try not to look at how many wins we have over the past few years, or what we’ve done previously this season. I look ahead - and right now, we’re thinking about districts.”

Olivia Iandoli got the Bears on the board first with a score with 6:33 left in the first quarter. That goal opened the floodgates, as Pleasant Valley added four more in the first quarter to take an early 5-0 lead.

Iandoli bookended the game with goals, while Devon Bush, Rylee Rath and Alivia Rath also all had two goals for the Bears

Bush’s first score came just 38 seconds after Iandoli’s opening score, and Rylee Rath’s first goal came just 17 seconds after that as Pleasant Valley left little doubt that its undefeated record was well earned.

The two teams are no strangers to each other, as they have met numerous times over the last several seasons - facing each other in regular season games, EPC playoff games and District 11 playoff games during that stretch.

“It’s been us and Emmaus back-and-forth a few times,” Rylee Rath said. “We knew they wanted to come out really strong for this game, but we were ready.

“We work so hard. Starting in September, we work every day. We work really hard so we can make it to big games like this. We were ready for whatever they threw at us.”

Emmaus finally got on the board when Abby DiComes scored with just 2:54 left in the first half to make it 6-1. DiComes also added another score later in the game, but Emmaus was never able to make the Bears uncomfortable.

While Pleasant Valley is used to getting big scoring games from Bush and Rylee Rath, Bears coach Toni Bush said the scoring of Alivia Rath was important.

“She is our utility player,” coach Bush said. “She’s a defender - that’s her primary position. But she has the experience and skills to step and deliver for us if Devon or Rylee are getting face-guarded.

“That’s what happened tonight. Alivia was really able to step up and into that spot when her girls were getting face-guarded, and she did a really good job.”

The Bears improved to 20-0 on the season with districts looming next week.

“Draw controls were obviously an issue tonight, and also getting the rest of our offense working together,” coach Bush said.

“So we definitely have things to work on. Districts will be like starting over. The wins we’ve had up to this point don’t matter. We have to be ready to play.”

SHOTS ... Pleasant Valley outshot Emmaus 20-11. Bears’ goaltender Abygail Borger made seven saves.

COMMANDING THE LEAD ...Pleasant Valley put up five goals in just over nine minutes at the start of the game.

FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS ... The Bears played both their EPC semifinal and championship games at Northampton High School, and the District 11 semifinals are scheduled to be played there as well on Monday. The finals are scheduled for next Wednesday at Lehigh University.

Pleasant Valley goalie Abygail Borger saves an Emmaus shot during Tuesday's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship game. LINDA ROTHROCK/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Pleasant Valley's Cecilia Cordova (24) tries to go around an Emmaus defender. LINDA ROTHROCK/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS