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Hempfield knocks Warwick from the unbeaten ranks
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Rachel Cox was in the right place at the right time for Hempfield in the second half.
Warwick, despite having a solid advantage in the statistics, wasn’t as fortunate.
And in the end, it was Cox’s tally on a penalty corner with 13:57 remaining in the second half on Tuesday which stood up as the game-winner in a 3-2 Lady Black Knight win in a battle of unbeaten Section One contenders at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz. Cox finished with two of Hempfield’s three goals.
While Warwick fell to 1-1 in Section play (3-1 overall), Hempfield improved to 3-0 in L-L (6-0 overall).
"It’s disheartening because this group has worked so hard … and we seem to lose the first time we play them the past four years in a row," Warwick coach Bob Derr said. "But I’ve got to hand it to Hempfield — they did the job. They got the job done. And they’re sitting in a good position now and we’ve got to fight uphill. So we’ll see what we’re made of."
The Black Knights seemed to be fighting uphill for a good portion of Tuesday’s game, as the Warwick girls built a 21-9 edge in shots and a 13-7 advantage in penalty corners. Derr was pleased with the effort of his girls, but could only scratch his head at the missed opportunities.
"It’s upsetting because we had so much offense," Derr said, "but could not find the back of the cage. That’s the disheartening part about it. For us to have that many shots and not be able to put them in the back of the cage, it’s definitely something that has to be addressed. Our penalty corner execution really hurt us … I felt they played a good enough game to win the game and they played hard, they played strong. But we came up short on the scoring end."
They missed by only inches when senior Emily Harting beat Hempfield goalie Kayla Denlinger, but nailed the right post with just over five minutes elapsed in the contest.
Hempfield answered with a spurt of its own, and Warwick keeper Alexis Charles (6 saves) kicked away a shot by Megan Bupp and then Kelsey Nolan fired wide right.
Finally, however, Warwick broke the scoreless tie on one of its six first-half corners. Bethany Han, positioned at the left post, was robbed on a defensive save by Heather Gailor, but Warwick’s senior got the rebound and scored with 6:23 elapsed. Senior Emma Rissinger picked up an assist.
Just over four minutes later, though, the Hempfield girls took advantage of a corner opportunity of their own, as Sarah Helgeson finished from Sarah Brooks.
In addition to Warwick’s execution on its penalty corners, Derr also had some concerns about his team’s roll one defense.
"If we could have done that a little bit better, that may have helped," Derr said. "We kept stepping up and engaging and not breaking down and being patient on defense. We just need to be a little bit more patient on defense."
Overall, Warwick had a 6-5 edge in corners in the first half, including three straight after Helgeson’s tying goal. But they came up empty and then Cox scored the first of her two goals with 3:11 left in the half, converting after Bupp carried the ball along the end line and sent a pass in front of the cage to give the Black Knights their first lead, 2-1.
"(Hempfield) has great speed and they transition very well," Derr said.
Again, however, the WHS girls battled back. On a rush into Hempfield’s defensive circle, the ball got behind Denlinger and Rissinger dove and scored the tying goal, on an assist from sophomore Liz Wenger, with just two seconds left on the clock.
"That was a great comeback at the end of the half," Derr said. "It was huge. Instead of being down by one, you’re even. It’s like you didn’t play the first half. It’s still 0-0, or in this case 2-2."
The Lady Warriors then came out at the start of the second half pressing hard to regain the lead and putting the Black Knights on their heels. Alyssa Manley’s shot was saved in the first two minutes of the stanza, and then Denlinger denied the Warwick midfielder on back-to-back attempts on a corner and then Emily Harting just moments later.
Harting was also a key part of Warwick’s defense, along with Kayla Laughman, Jenica Miller and Charles, which did a solid job against the Black Knights.
"I’m really pleased with our defense. Our three backs, boy, between Emily, Kayla and Jenica, they’re doing a great job," Derr said. "We switched to a three-back system and we felt we could do that this year because we have a strong goalie too. We had a few moments of little blunders, but for the most part, they did a great job back there in the defensive circle."
Unfortunately for Warwick, though, there wasn’t much they could do on Hempfield’s go-ahead tally. On the Black Knights’ second — and final corner — of the half, Nolan’s shot from the top of the circle rebounded off of Charles’ pads to Cox, who fired it home with 13:57 to go in the game.
The Lady Warriors had other chances after that, including three more penalty corners, but it wasn’t meant to be.
With a busy week still in front of them, however, Warwick will look to put Tuesday’s loss behind them. After hosting McCaskey yesterday (Wednesday), the Lady Warriors will go to Elizabethtown on Friday and then host Line Mountain in a non-league game on Saturday, giving them five games in six days.
"(The loss to Hempfield) hurts because the expectations of this team are really high," Derr said. "But the season isn’t over. There’s a lot of games to be played. That’s only game four (and) we’ve got 14 more games to play in the season and hopefully a lot of playoff games. We’ll see how they bounce back after this."
On Monday, the Lady Warriors played for the first time in more than a week and shut out crosstown rival Manheim Township 2-0 in a Section One game in Lititz.
Emily Harting and Liz Wenger scored in the first 14:57 of the opening half and Alexis Charles stopped both shots she faced to preserve the shutout. Bethany Han added an assist to help the Warwick girls build a 16-2 edge in shots. They also held a commanding 11-2 advantage over the Streaks in corners. More LADY WARRIORS, page B-5