By Scott Johnston
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/1/10
Besides being the head coach at Emmaus, Jef Hewlings also works full time as the executive director of the Human Performance Center, a health and fitness center in the Lehigh Valley.
After his halftime speech to his Green Hornets today in their Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) opener against Lower Merion, he may want to think about a career change: motivational speaking.
“Let’s put it this way,” said the Hornets third year coach, ” I told them in kind of no uncertain terms that they can either go out with a whimper or they could go out kicking and screaming – and to their credit they responded.”
Did they ever.
Playing their best quarter of the season according to their coach, Emmaus responded by erasing a 6-4 halftime deficit with five unanswered goals in the third period and then surviving a frenetic fourth period rally in an entertaining 12-11 win over the Aces at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
It was the second year in a row that the two teams had met in the first round and the second time the Hornets have ended the Aces’ season. In a game played at the same venue a year ago, Emmaus scored three third-period goals to break open a tight game at the half (4-3) and held on for a 7-5 win.
On Saturday Emmaus (16-7) will face off against another familiar foe, District 1 champ Conesotga, in the PIAA quarterfinals. The Pioneers eliminated the Hornets, 9-4, a year ago in a quarterfinal game played at Harriton. Conestoga, which defeated Emmaus, 5-4, early this season, advanced by cruising past Hatboro-Horsham, 17-2, in its opening-round game Tuesday.
Jodan Wolf (Duke) scored three goals, teammate Andrew Mongeluzzi added a pair and Ahmad Zachary scored the first of his two goals with just eight seconds remaining as the Aces led, 6-4, in a first half that featured four ties and four lead changes.
Then came the third period.
“We came out pretty strong and then we had trouble clearing the ball in the third period and they were being really patient offensively,” Lower Merion coach Chet Laubach said. “We had to play too much defense at that point and on a night like this we were getting exhausted. It wound up costing us in the end.”
Emmaus scored five goals in the last five minutes of the period, including a pair of scores from seniors Mike Bender and Tate Klidonas just four seconds apart, and a Stephen Ward goal with just one second remaining to take a 9-6 lead.
Lower Merion drew within 12-11 on three goals in the final four minutes – including two more by Mongeluzzi, who had four overall and set a school record for goals (76) . But Emmaus held on for their 10th win in their last 12 outings. The Aces ended their season at 14-10.
Hewlings is excited to get another shot at Conestoga.
“It’s an intriguing matchup,” said Hewlings who recently picked up his 50th coaching win at Emmaus. “We’re excited to play them.
“We’ve kind of developed a rivalry with them the last few years and certainly they’re an awesome group of high school lacrosse players. We played them pretty tough the first time around so at least our kids know that they’re going to step on the field and ‘Stoga will have a battle on their hands.”
NOTES – Wolf, who had four goals overall, established a school record this year for career points (332) and assists (149), as well as the single-season mark for points (115). All marks were held by the legendary John Christmas. Wolf also had 73 goals this year.
Emmaus 12, Lower Merion 11
Lower Merion 3-3-0-5 -11
Emmaus 2-2-5-3 -12
Lower Merion – Jordan Wolf 4g, 1a; Andrew Mongeluzzi 4g, Joe Shallow 2g, 1a, Ahmad Zachary 1g, Nile Thompson 1a.
Hank Altschuler 13 saves.
Emmaus – Dan Kinek 3g, 1a, Will Scott 2g, 1a, Derek Schmidt 2g, Tate Klidonas 2g, Stephen Ward 2g, Mike Bender 1g, Ty Souders 1a.
Joe Magargal 11 saves.