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Bertrando scores two in Warwick’s rain-soaked win Warriors start season at 3-0
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Warwick senior Ryan Bertrando seemed to have the go-ahead within his grasp early in the second half on Tuesday.
The only thing that prevented it was a nice save by Penn Manor junior Taylor Skelly.
The Comets’ goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Bertrando’s penalty kick just over 10 minutes later, however.
With 16:16 left in a scoreless game at rain-soaked Joseph Grosh Field, Warwick’s senior forward made no mistake while hammering the ball into the left corner of the net, and the Warrior boys went on to shut out Section One foe Penn Manor 2-0 in their home opener in Lititz.
The game-winner was set up thanks to a nicely-placed ball from back Shawn Mearig inside Penn Manor’s box, where a Comet defender committed a hand ball violation.
"I was shielded off, I did not see it, so I don’t know how deliberate it was," Warwick coach Dale Stoltzfus said. "But the referee was right there … Whether it was a hand ball or not, I don’t like losing games that way and I don’t necessarily like winning games that way either. But we kept putting pressure and kept putting pressure and it happened to be in their area more than what they were in ours."
Bertrando scored his second goal of the game with just 4:51 left for a key insurance tally, as Warwick improved its record to 2-0 in Section One play (3-0 overall) in the early going.
"It’s a special team and if they keep focused and keep working, good things can still happen," Stoltzfus remarked. "But they just have to stay focused and keep working. Sometimes it takes 65 minutes until you crack the back of the net."
The Warriors didn’t need that much time to score last Saturday while defeating Lancaster Mennonite 3-2 in a non-league game. But because of Monday’s rain, the Warriors’ optional practice was wiped out, and Tuesday’s game was the first time in three days that they were back on the field.
That, and the conditions, might have contributed to a defensive mindset by both teams in the opening half. Although neither team had any golden opportunities, the Warwick boys had the ball in the Comets’ half of the field for the majority of play. They built a 6-2 edge in corner kicks in the first 40 minutes and took the game’s only two shots.
"We had the better flow of play, but we didn’t have any of those ‘wow’-type moments," Stoltzfus said. "Our biggest ‘wow’ moments probably were the direct kicks, but it was tough conditions to play in."
Warwick’s defense made it even tougher for Comets’ senior forward Andrew Herr to get on track. Two years ago, Herr played a key role in helping Penn Manor rally for a 5-4 win over the Warriors, so Warwick was aware of his talents. On Tuesday, Stoltzfus adjusted his system to try to keep the Penn Manor star in check, going from a four-back set to a three-back formation with senior Jordan Smith man-marking Herr.
"Andy Herr’s been a tremendous player ever since his sophomore year," Stoltzfus said, "and I made a change about 15 minutes into the first half and we pretty much went with that lineup. (Jordan) did a tremendous job."
With the game still scoreless at the half, Chris Sandkuhler set up Bertrando with 27:18 remaining for the game’s first quality chance, but Skelly made one of his two saves to keep Warwick off the scoreboard.
The Warriors, though, remained focused and Bertrando’s tally on the penalty kick gave them a lead they never relinquished.
Penn Manor had back-to-back corner kicks with 8:00 to go, but couldn’t mount a serious threat on Warwick senior keeper Tanner Biemesderfer, who needed to make just one save for the shutout.
As the game progressed, and with Penn Manor perhaps trying to pick up the intensity, the Comets picked up two yellow cards. On the second of those, Skelly was forced from the field for five minutes. During that time, with Donald McMillan between the pipes, the WHS boys capitalized. With just 4:51 left, Bertrando finished on a nice assist from senior forward Asher Klahold in the center of the field to put it away for Warwick. Senior Derek Adams started the play by getting the ball to Klahold.
"Again, it was very hard to get some of those touches together with that ball skimming, but it was nice composure, a nice touch by Ryan and a nice finish," Stoltzfus said.
Last Saturday in Lancaster, Warwick scored three unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 and then held on for a 3-2 non-league victory.
Sandkuhler and Matt Engle connected just nine minutes apart to put the Warriors in front 2-1 at the half. Sandkuhler then scored his second of the game with 14:28 remaining in the game, and Benji Kennell got one back for LMH only 26 seconds later. But Biemesderfer finished with six saves to help clinch the win.
Warwick outshot the Blazers 12-8 in the game and they had a 4-1 edge in corner kicks. Klahold, Adams and Bertrando all had assists in the game.
In other action, Adams had a goal and an assist to help lead Warwick to a 3-1 conquest of McCaskey in their non-league opener last Friday in Lancaster.
Jose Urena and Klahold also found the back of the net and Bertrando chipped in with two assists, as the Warriors outshot the Red Tornado by a 12-5 margin. More WHS SOCCER, page B-2