An L-L double
Sports Editor What started out as a frustrating trip to Manheim Central last Saturday actually turned out to be pretty good.
As I pulled into the parking lot near the stadium in plenty of time for the Lancaster-Lebanon League boys soccer finals and rummaged through my belongings, I realized that I didn’t have a couple of key items. In my haste to get out the door for my daughter’s 9 a.m. soccer game and then to Warwick’s biggest game of the year, my tape recorder and press pass stayed behind.
Maybe it was a hunch that the Warriors were going to beat Hempfield to win their first League championship, but I didn’t want to be without a tape recorder for such an important game. Life is so much easier when you’re not forced to scribble notes, only to miss half of what is being said, and then use even less when you can’t decipher what the heck was written on the tablet.
So I raced home and raced back and considered myself fortunate to miss only 20 minutes of what was still a 0-0 game. And, boy, was that the right decision. There were a lot of quotes to be had and many smiles among the Warwick players and coaches — rightfully so — after the Warriors capitalized on an own goal, following a nicely placed ball into the box by Jordan Loose, to earn a 1-0 win.
That win, in fact, capped a remarkable week for Warwick. Less than a week … less than 48 hours actually. Just two nights earlier, the Warwick field hockey team also hoisted its league championship trophy after defeating Penn Manor 3-2 in overtime.
Both games were instant classics.
And both had much in common. The Hempfield boys soccer team and the Penn Manor girls field hockey team each won their respective Section One championships, with Warwick placing a close second. The Black Knights were the defending League and State champions, while the Lady Comets were the two-time reigning L-L champions. In each sport, the L-L League has a solid reputation throughout the State.
Although my colleague Todd Ruth, the Ephrata Review sports editor, made Warwick his pre-season pick for field hockey, there were many others who no doubt had Penn Manor as the favorite to win a third straight crown.
Ditto for soccer, where Hempfield had to be the consensus pick to take home the soccer gold.
Those teams were the kings. There’s something to that old cliche that, until someone knocks off the champ, they’re still the team to beat. And in less than 48 hours, Warwick did it not once, but twice. Warwick’s opponents being who they were had to make it even more sweeter when they raised that championship hardware.
After the Phillies won the World Series title in 2008, it’s been mentioned that perhaps the Eagles have been feeling some pressure to bring home a Super Bowl. Along those same lines, you wonder whether there might have been a friendly rivalry — or a common goal — among the field hockey players and boys soccer players last week to each win the L-L championship trophy.
To witness both of them win it in the same season is to witness a rare feat, for sure. Obviously, it’s the first time that’s it’s happened at Warwick because it’s the Warrior boys’ first L-L soccer crown. But I can’t imagine that it’s been done very often where any school’s field hockey and boys soccer teams have each won the L-L League title just days apart like Warwick did.
On an interesting note, both squads also took home District gold together just hours apart in 2005, when the field hockey team beat Hershey 4-0 in the District Three Triple-A finals and the boys soccer squad was named co-champions in their title game against Manheim Township after playing to a 3-3 tie.
The 2012 District playoffs have gotten underway this week and perhaps we could see more history next weekend when the championship games are played.
In the meantime, we should all offer our congratulations to the players and coaches on those teams for a job well done. More COLUMN, page B-4