It wasn't a perfect 10, but it was an amazing 10.
Emmaus High Coach Sue Butz-Stavin won her 10th PIAA Class AAA state girls' field hockey championship on Saturday.
The Hornets beat Cocalico High 2-1 on a goal by junior forward Allison Mikelson with about 3:08 left in the game, which was played before an estimated 2,000 fans at Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall.
"You know you're part of something huge," said junior forward Lena
Phillips, who scored the early goal for the Hornets. "And any game you lose is a huge deal. We always have a target on our back, and we like that challenge.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for the coach. She devotes herself completely to this."
Asked the reason for her 755-73-31 career record after finishing 26-0 this season, Butz-Stavin she said it was everything from the kids who cheered from the bench to those who scored the goals.
"It's team unity," she said. "Not just the kids who are on the field. It can be the others who'll get their chance some day. Then they'll be part of the whole feeling we have today."
The Hornets seemed to be buzzing along in the first half, when Phillips scored her 18th goal for the season with 20:32 left in the half.
"Things went well in the first half," Phillips said.
She admitted the goal was a bit of a fluke...as many are in this sport.
"I got the ball in the circle and I didn't have it all the way on my stick. I tried to pass the ball and it went in," she said.
Emmaus had a letdown in the second half, when junior back Taylor Kitwell of Cocalico (21-6, the fifth seeded school from the Lancaster area) tied the game with 18:26 left.
A yellow card left Emmaus reeling – putting them a player short—but the Hornets seemed to settle when a penalty was called on Cocalico two minutes later.
Butz-Stavin was undaunted, taking advantage of a Cocalico timeout.
"They got a little frustrated," Butz-Stavin said. "I told them to keep their heads together.
"We were fortunate that Cocalico called a timeout and I told the kids what we needed to do. A lot times you have to stay sharp and have a lot of heart. You do those things you work all season long for."
A poised Emmaus team gained control late in the second half, understanding that they needed one more goal for a state title.
The game-winner came on Mikelson's 15th goal of the season, and she described it: "(Junior midfielder) Sarah Kazmierski inserted the ball at the top of thecircle," she said. "I was supposed to take a hit, but the flier got to me first, so I hit the ball left with a reverse edge that went up."
As how the team was able to regain its composure late in the second half, Mikelson said: "We know we're a team and we have to keep pushing. We just think about everything we work for."
While Butz-Stavin accumulated a .910 winning percentage since the late 1970s, the coach points out there's a field hockey coach ahead of her at Shore Regional in Monmouth County, New Jersey with 35 state championships in 41 years named Nancy Williams.
"Nancy of Shore has five years on me," Butz-Staven said.
Emmaus has not always been a cinch in these state games, having lost at least twice in 1994 and 2002, according to PIAA records.
Gaining gold medals on Saturday were senior Rebecca Gagliardi, sophomore Aislinn Bryan, sophomore Jessica Unger, junior Caitlin Bryan, senior Allison Evans, sophomore Alexis Roth, freshman Kristen Mikelson, sophomore Sarah Kazmierski, freshman Ashley Moxey, junior Allison Haas, junior Gabriana Nisiotis, junior Angela DeBellis, junior Zoey Pacheco, senior Katie Stewart, senior Hannah Nallo, sophomore Kassidy Green, junior Meg Mitchell, senior Maggie Murphy, freshman Kiera Godusky, senior Samantha Wootsick and goal scorers Mikelson and Phillips.