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Comets edge Warwick 2-1 in OT in District semi-finals WHS girls rebound to beat Hempfield for third
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
To borrow a line from Yogi Berra, it was deja vu all over again.
In a repeat of the Lancaster-Lebanon League finals, Penn Manor scored a first-half goal and then Warwick tied it 1-1 late in the second.
That, though, is where the similarities ended.
Just two weeks after Warwick defeated the Comets 2-1 in OT for its 11th L-L crown, the Penn Manor girls got a penalty corner goal by Erin McCoy early in the extra session last Thursday to pull out a 2-1 win in the District Three Triple-A semi-finals at Hempfield High.
"I’m pleased how the girls fought back," Warwick skipper Bob Derr said. "It was a good hard-fought battle (between) two teams that are very competitive and very good. There was a lot of good play all the way through the field, offense and defense. I’m upset that we lost, but we’re still alive and we’ll go for that third place game on Saturday."
The Lady Warriors also got a slow start in their third-place game against Hempfield on Saturday, as Kelsey Nolan gave the Lady Knights a 1-0 lead with just 1:34 elapsed in the contest.
But Warwick recovered and they snapped a 1-1 halftime tie with two goals in the second half on their way to a 3-1 win at Hershey High School. Kiersten Cepeda finished with two goals and Liz Wenger added one, helping the WHS girls (20-4) punch their ticket to play District One runner-up Unionville in the first round of States.
On Thursday in their game against Penn Manor, the Comets held a 7-0 edge in shots and it had a 4-1 advantage in penalty corners in the opening 30 minutes.
Then with just over 11:00 left, Warwick senior keeper Alexis Charles (9 saves) stopped Shannon Sloss from close range. But the Comets’ junior forward got her own rebound and scored to give her team a 1-0 lead with 18:59 remaining in the half.
"I thought in the first half, we were just not connecting passes and we weren’t putting any pressure on the ball," Derr said. "We were just letting them dictate and you can’t do that."
Penn Manor continued to threaten after the break, creating three straight corners, and Charles stood tall to stop a pair of shots by the Comets, including one by Vicki Nase with just under 24:00 remaining.
Eventually, though, Warwick righted the ship and started to turn the tide a bit. Kiersten Cepeda finally got the Lady Warriors’ first shot on goal at the 20:00 mark, which led to a corner opportunity.
Later, Bethany Han and Alyssa Manley also fired shots away at PM keeper Karla Mylin, who kicked away five saves in the game. Then with just 2:24 left in regulation, Cepeda fired the ball into the right corner of the cage, on an assist from Marissa Lutz, to bring the Lady Warriors even 1-1.
"All I saw was a big crowd as the ball was coming in there," Derr said. "I had no idea who scored (or) what happened. I knew the ball came in and then that was it. Emma (Rissinger), Kiersten, Marissa Lutz … they were all in there at the same time and I had no idea who (scored). I didn’t even see the ball go in until I saw the referee signal goal."
Overall, the Warwick girls built a 5-3 second half edge in shots, while matching Penn Manor’s four penalty corners.
"Penn Manor just took it to us in the first half. The second half we started gaining some momentum and started to surge and then finally tied the game up," Derr said. "So I’m really proud of the girls of how they fought back in the wee minutes of the game again and score to tie the game up and give us the chance to try to win it in overtime."
They nearly did exactly that when Rissinger got a scoring chance in the opening minute of the OT period. Mylin, though, was equal to the task.
"We almost got that one in — that would’ve been great," Derr said.
Instead, the Comets countered and took the ball to the opposite end of the field, where they generated back-to-back corners. On the second of those, McCoy received a perfect entry pass from Sloss and blasted a shot into the back of the cage with just 2:09 elapsed.
"That was a great a corner — just a great shot. The ball could’ve gone wide, but it didn’t," Derr said. "That’s something I didn’t expect. I thought it was going to be a good battle up and down the field. But you’ve got to avoid the penalty corners in the overtime. That gives them the chances to score."
With their victory over Hempfield on Saturday, Warwick improved to 2-1 this season against the Lady Knights. But it didn’t come without a scare, when Nolan converted on an early chance.
"(We played well) except, maybe, for the first eight to 10 minutes," Der said. "They were able to turn it around and play a much more aggressive game afer that. And then we pretty much controlled the game."
Cepeda got the equalizer with 6:59 left in the half, and then the Lady Warriors scored two goals within a span of just 1:14 early in the second half to take the lead for good. With only 8:25 gone in the second, Wenger beat Hempfield keeper Kayla Denlinger to make the score 2-1.
Overall, the Lady Warriors built a big 19-6 edge in penalty corners. That, however, didn’t translate into a lot of shots for Warwick, with each mustering only seven shots at the cage.
But with slightly more than 20:00 remaining, Warwick converted on a corner for a key insurance tally. Alyssa Manley’s shot hit a defender’s foot and many of the players on the field paused as the Hempfield girl fell to the ground. But the ball ricocheted to Marissa Lutz, who pushed the ball toward the cage. There, Wenger deflected the ball to Cepeda, who tapped it home to put Warwick in front 3-1.
From there, keeper Alexis Charles finished with five saves to help preserve the two-goal cushion. More THIRD PLACE, page B-4