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Comets edge Warwick in clash of unbeatens
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
In recent games, penalty corners have been friendly for the Warwick field hockey team.
They were a big reason the Lady Warriors scored 22 goals in three wins last week.
On Tuesday afternoon against Penn Manor in a showdown between unbeatens, however, it was a different story, as they managed just 1-for-12 on those opportunities.
Conversely, the Comets found the back of the cage twice on penalty corners, and that was the difference in the game, as Lizzie Frombach snapped a 1-1 tie with just 1:54 left on a perfectly-executed flick, lifting Penn Manor to a 2-1 win in Lititz.
The victory kept the Comets undefeated at 5-0 in league play (8-0 overall) atop the Section One standings, while Warwick (4-1 L-L, 5-2-1 overall) fell one game off the pace.
"We played well enough to win the game, so I can’t feel bad about that," Warwick coach Bob Derr said. "But you’ve got to put the ball in the cage, and if you can’t do that, then you’re not going to get (the victory). We left it get away."
Warwick actually had a 1-0 lead in the game when Casie Stief connected with 6:44 elapsed in the second half. But then the Comets scored twice in the final 17:49 to pull out the win.
"We didn’t execute penalty corners really well," Derr remarked. "They did a better job there. In the second half, they had a little bit more offense than what we did."
Indeed. The Comets had just three of their 12 corners in the opening stanza. Warwick survived two early chances by Penn Manor, then countered with seven of the next eight corners in the first half.
On one of those, a Penn Manor defender kept Noelle Kephart’s shot out of the cage with a foot save, resulting in a stroke for Warwick. Jamie Martin released a solid shot, but it caught the right post and it remained 0-0.
Warwick had two more chances on corners in the final 5:00 of the half, but to no avail. Warwick outshot the Comets 4-1 in the first half, along with holding a 7-3 advantage in corners during that span, but had nothing to show for their efforts at the half.
"The execution of our penalty corners has been really good up to this point," Derr said. "Today was not a good penalty corner day. You would think you could execute the penalty corner on your own home field better than away, but … not today."
Things seemed to be looking up for Warwick when Stief beat Comet keeper Desiree Landis early in the second. Suter initially made a defensive save on Kephart on Warwick’s first corner of the half, but the ball ended up on Stief’s stick and she pushed it home. Hannah Bollinger earned an assist on the play.
Almost six minutes later, Penn Manor got the equalizer on a corner, as Michele Enck picked up a rebound and scored with 12:11 elapsed. Bri Kline was credited with an assist.
"I’m sure (Penn Manor coach Matt Soto) is saying the same thing, we’ve each got to find a way to keep the other team from penetrating the circle and getting corners," Derr said. "You’ve got to find a way to stop that. That’s a problem we’re having. We’re going against good teams and we give up a lot of corners."
Penn Manor had nine corners in the second half, to Warwick’s five, and the Comets had a 5-3 advantage in shots. Finally, on Penn Manor’s 12th corner of the game with just less than 2:00 to go, Suter got the ball at the top of the circle and dumped to Frombach, who flicked it into the cage for the game-winner.
"It was a nice flick," Derr said. "We were aware of it, but my flyer didn’t get there fast enough. I think the first time they did that, (Frombach) bobbled it just a bit and that gave my flyer a chance to pick up on that dump."
With Conestoga Valley looming on Thursday, followed by games with Cumberland Valley and Lower Dauphin on Saturday and then Hempfield next Monday, Warwick is hoping to bounce back quickly.
"Now you have one loss and we’ve got to play tough against everybody else in our Section," Derr said. "You can’t afford to take a break because if you take another loss to someone else that catches you off guard, then you’re out of the picture for good."
In other action last Friday, Stief scored two goals and the Warwick girls rolled to a 4-0 shutout of Cedar Crest in Cornwall.
Stief, Marleise Emrhein and Delaney Ryan all netted first-half goals to put the Lady Warriors up 3-0 at the break. For the game, Warwick had 10 shots and three corners, and Stief got her second goal at 16:55 of the second to complete the scoring.
Emrhein, Liz Wenger, Jamie Martin and Jess Cochis all added assists.
Defensively, Warwick held Crest to just three corners and one shot in front of keeper Kailynne Reinoehl, who earned the shutout.
Last Wednesday, Sept. 11, Emrhein recorded a hat trick for the third consecutive game, while Noelle Kephart and Martin each scored twice, leading the Warwick girls in a lopsided 11-0 drubbing of McCaskey.
Jaycie St. John, Hannah Bollinger, Lauren Sammet and Lauren Bollinger also got in the scoring as part of an attack in which the Lady Warriors outshot the Tornado 39-0.
Gaby Spatz and Megan Bomba shared keeper duties for Warwick.
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-3