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Fourth time is the charm Emrhein nets OT game-winner in District semi-finals
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
There’s a reason that Marleise Emrhein takes many of Warwick’s shots on penalty corners.
"She has some pretty wicked shots," senior co-captain Liz Wenger said. "There’s not much else to say about that."
Emrhein unloaded one of those wicked shots in the first 7-on-7 OT period on Tuesday night, and when it found the back of the cage with just 3:15 remaining on the clock, the Warwick girls clinched a 2-1 victory over L-L rival Penn Manor in the District Three Triple-A semi-finals at Milton Hershey School.
It was the first time in four meetings that the 7th-seeded Lady Warriors (18-5-1) had beaten the 3rd-seeded Comets (20-3-1) this season.
"It feels great," Emrhein said. "We lost to them three times and we were able to come back as a team and play well and persevere through the whole thing."
"Every time I think about it, I’m just so happy," senior co-captain Courtney Weaver said.
"It’s still surreal. We’ll see how it feels at practice tomorrow," Wenger laughed.
When they showed up at practice on Wednesday, they began preparations to face Lower Dauphin, a 3-2 winner over Cumberland Valley in Tuesday’s other semi-final, this Saturday back at Milton Hershey. For Warwick, they are returning to the District finals for the first time since 2006, when they suffered a 3-0 loss to Lower Dauphin. The Lady Warriors will be seeking their seventh District title in program history, and first since 2005, when they knocked off Hershey 4-0.
"I’m just really proud of the team and what they did today," Warwick coach Bob Derr. "That was a great win. That was a great win. It was a team effort. I can’t really point out any individual that was a difference in the game other than the fact that Marleise scored."
Emrhein’s goal capped a comeback for the Lady Warriors, which saw them rally from a 1-0 deficit. Following a first half in which neither team generated a lot of scoring opportunities, with each squad mustering only two shots, it took Penn Manor’s Cassie Kline just 1:22 into the second half to snap the tie. Her blast deflected off a defender’s stick, popped into the air and went over the head of a helpless Warwick keeper Kailynne Reinoehl.
"We panicked a little bit," Weaver said.
"There was a time where our mental toughness was down and we were kinda slow to the ball," Wenger added.
Derr sensed that and called a timeout with 25:10 remaining.
It didn’t work.
He called another one a few minutes later.
This time, it worked.
"I was concerned about my defense not bouncing back," Derr said. "I called the one timeout and there was no change. It just looked like they were going through the motions. There was no enthusiasm, there was no energy. And then the second timeout … what a difference."
The Lady Warriors got their first corner of the half with 18:51 left. Just over nine minutes later, they notched their fourth corner of the game and Casie Stief deflected a blast by Emrhein behind Penn Manor keeper Desiree Landis, tying the score with 8:58 remaining.
Overall, the Comets had a 7-6 edge in both corners and shots. But it was the first of two times that Warwick scored off of a corner.
"That was a big turning point in the game because it gave us our momentum back and we were able to come back and know that we were still in this game," Emrhein remarked. "Casie had a great tip."
Penn Manor had one final penalty corner in regulation, but came up empty. Warwick, though, got a break when Comet senior Lizzie Frombach received a five-minute yellow card with 1:22 to go, keeping Penn Manor short-handed for more than three minutes in OT.
Warwick didn’t capitalize and then Reinoehl (6 saves) kicked out a shot by Kline with 5:50 left in the OT stanza. That set the table for the Lady Warriors’ second corner of the OT with players on both teams growing more fatigued. Jaycie St. John inserted the ball to Jamie Martin, who then dished to Emrhein. The junior forward made no mistake, blistering a shot which beat Landis inside the left post and kicked off a Warwick celebration.
"After I shot the ball and I looked up, I realized that it was going to go in," Emrhein recalled. "It was a solid hit,"
Wenger thought that Landis might have been leaning to her left, anticipating a shot to the other side of the cage.
"I thought I saw (Landis) step to the left, so I think she thought Marleise was going to hit it far post, so it was a larger gap on the near post," Wenger recalled.
Whatever the case, Warwick had finally knocked off Penn Manor.
The fourth time was the charm, right?
"There’s no such thing as fourth time being the charm," Derr laughed. "Each game is different when you play each other. Playing for the fourth time, we know each other so well. It was just a matter of who’s going to find the hole in the cage and who’s not offensively, and how strong defense we play … That was a great win. Who knows? There might be a Warwick-Penn Manor five down the road."
Last Saturday, the Warwick girls managed just one shot against No. 2 seeded Twin Valley, but that’s all they needed to pull out a 1-0 win over the Lady Raiders in the District Three Triple-A quarterfinals at Exeter Township High School.
On a tic-tac-toe passing play early in the second half, Liz Wenger fed the ball to Jamie Martin, who then made a perfect pass to Marleise Emrhein inside the circle. The junior forward then one-timed a shot past Twin Valley keeper Darby Kozan just inside the right post for what proved to be the game-winning goal with 24:37 remaining.
"We found Marleise open at the top of the circle," Derr said. "(Twin Valley coach Brenda Hoffman and I) were talking about that, and she said, ‘Yep, my girl left her mark.’ She left her open just for that split second and (Marleise) got the ball, shot and scored. Do you call that luck or do you call that skill? I just think divine intervention."
Besides punching their ticket to the PIAA State playoffs and guaranteeing themselves at least three more games, the Lady Warriors (17-5-1) handed Twin Valley its only shutout loss of the season. The Lady Raiders’ only other defeat was a 2-1 setback to Lower Dauphin, the No. 1 seed in the District Three Triple-A playoffs.
Twin Valley, led by UNC recruit Ashley Hoffman and Michigan recruit Kayla McClure, lived up to its billing as the No. 2 seed, controlling the majority of play in the opening half with a 6-2 edge in corners. Despite their advantage, however, the Lady Raiders managed just two shots in each half. Warwick goalie Kailynne Reinoehl was perfect with four saves.
"The first half, I’ve got to give credit to my defensive penalty corner unit and my defense," Derr said, "because they kept us in the game. They continued what they were doing in the second half, but the mids and forwards did a better job of generating some offense."
For the game, Twin Valley had a 10-5 edge in shots and they outshot the Lady Warriors 4-1. Warwick created three of its corners in the second half, but they had to survive a late chance by the Lady Raiders, who had their final corner with just over a minute left in the game. Their shot went wide left, however, and Warwick held on.
"That’s the nature of the game – we got one shot and that was the one that went in," Derr said. "I’ve lost games like that. I feel proud of what they did. That was a very good (Twin Valley) team. We beat a quality team."
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-8