All-American honors go to Warwick players

By on December 21, 2011

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Warwick’s field hockey players just expected to hand in their gear after school on Monday and be on their way.

The girls weren’t really anticipating anything more than that.

A couple of the girls, though, got a lot more.

They received news from coach Bob Derr that they were selected as 2011 Harrow Sports/NFHCA High School All-Americans. Senior midfielder Alyssa Manley earned First-Team accolades, while senior keeper Alexis Charles and senior back Emily Harting both took home Second-Team honors.

"Coach Derr actually told me about five minutes after school ended," Manley said. "I was really surprised. I wasn’t expecting to get First-Team. If anything, I was expecting to get Second or Third-Team. It’s a huge honor just because they pick from people all over (the nation)."

Manley is Warwick’s first player to receive First-Team All-American accolades since Paige Laytos was honored in 2005. That same year, Meghan Beamesderfer claimed Second-Team All-American laurels, and then Meredith Way took Second-Team honors the following year in 2006.

"I’m just excited for them to get recognized," Derr said. "The more I sit back and take in the particular season, you can really appreciate the talent that was on that team. They were extremely talented. As you take a look at all the accolades and honors and awards that many of the players have received, from L-L All-Stars to All-State to All-Region and now All-American, it’s definitely a tribute to the girls themselves and the work that they’ve put in, but it’s also a tremendous tribute to their teammates who are there to push them every day in practice and put them in a position to be recognized. But it’s also a tribute to the program and to the coaching staff and Warwick School District and the Lititz community, all together."

Together, the Lady Warriors won their 11th L-L title in program history, then placed third in the District Three Triple-A Tournament and advanced to the PIAA State finals, where they finished runner-up with a 23-5 record.

Earlier, Charles, Harting, Manley and Emma Rissinger were named First-Team All-State and those same four also received First-Team All-Region honors last week. Seniors Bethany Han, Harting, Jenica Miller and Jen Stipe also received Academic All-State honors.

Rissinger, who has given a verbal commitment to continue her career at the University of Maryland, had a standout season with 18 goals and 19 assists this fall.

Asked if he was surprised that Rissinger didn’t receive All-American honors, Derr said, "Yes, I thought she might. You don’t know (how the selection process is going to unfold). I don’t know if not going to the Festival hurt her or not. Out at the Festival — and that’s sort of a Catch-22 type thing too — that’s where the committee meets and then they do their last observations … But that girl does a heck of a lot. In the role that we put her in as a coaching staff this season, her job was to get the ball and bring it up into the forward line and get a penalty corner or get the ball to someone up front of her and finish. And she did that and did an outstanding job. She was sort of like an extra midfielder. She had a lot of assists due to that. That’s a heck of a balance of goals and assists."

Manley, too, did a heck of a job at center mid for Warwick. She acknowledged that she was nervous about stepping into that role prior to her junior season, but she adapted well while using excellent vision on the field.

"When you’re at center mid, you’re relied on to transfer the ball a lot," said Manley, a Syracuse University recruit. "So I had to be able to see where the other players were and just know where they are on the field."

A year ago, Manley received Second-Team All-State honors, but she got herself stronger in the off-season and continued to improve as a senior, when she contributed six goals and solid play in a stingy defense.

"I think I was definitely physically stronger as a player this year," Manley said. "Coming in, everyone on the team was more prepared because we did more conditioning and exercise kind of stuff over the summer as a team."

It didn’t hurt that Manley also played on the U-17 National team which traveled to Holland during her junior year.

"It definitely helped me a lot," she said. "I got good experience and I got to see how other people play from different countries."

Harting was another force for Warwick in the middle of the field, helping to anchor the defense from her center back position.

The Old Dominion University recruit was a three-year starter for the Lady Warriors and was selected Second-Team All-State at the end of her junior season.

Harting got the news that she was selected to the All-American squad when her mom texted her during the school day.

"It’s a very big honor," Harting said. "Warwick hasn’t had an All-American since Meredith Way, so it’s a big honor for all of us."

Harting said the team concept which Warwick had this fall translated into making everyone a better player.

"I think all of us connecting together during the off-season really helped," she said, "both individually as well as a team, just because we all know each other so well and we didn’t have that last year as much as we did this year. So it was really beneficial for everyone individually as well as together."

Charles, meanwhile, was credited as being one of Warwick’s top leaders this year, standing tall between the pipes while recording 10 shutouts.

"(Getting a shutout) was the goal I had for each game," Charles said. "First, it’s winning and then I wanted the shutout."

She will be looking to record many more shutouts during her collegiate career at East Stroudsburg University. She recently visited both ESU and Kutztown and gave the Lady Warriors a verbal commitment last Saturday.

A two-year starter in goal for Warwick, Charles was also selected to the National Futures Camp in Boston, Mass. prior to her sophomore year, and she was selected to Junior Olympics for two years and the Futures Championships all four years of high school.

Earning All-American honors, however, will definitely go at the top of her resume.

"The players really pushed us this year and the defense was really great — we actually communicated a lot better than normal and we just got everything together," Charles said. More ALL-AMERICANS, page B-4