Here’s my angle

By on November 20, 2013

Talking Sports

As I write this column on Tuesday night, the hype is already starting to build for this Friday’s epic clash between Manheim Central and Cocalico in the District Three Triple-A semi-finals.

For sure, the hype will only get more intense as the big game draws closer this week.

With every big game, whether it’s football or anything else, every big angle is explored.

So let me do my part to explore one of those angles. In the last two meetings between the Barons and Eagles, it was the visiting team that won the game. In week six of the regular season this fall, Central traveled to Denver and defeated Cocalico 24-12. In 2012, the Eagles knocked off the Barons 48-35 at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field en route to the Section Two crown.

Time will tell if that trend continues this Friday when the two squads face each other back at Elden Rettew Field.

But I can’t help thinking that the “home-field advantage” is over-rated in a lot of cases.

In field hockey, I get it. If a team, like, say Conestoga Valley plays all their home games on grass, and a skilled turf team such as Warwick goes to their site to play, then yes, the Buckskins are going to have a home-field advantage.

You could also argue that in a sport such as baseball, where the home team gets the final at-bats, that’s an example in which they have a clear edge on their opponent.

But in football, what is there that constitutes an advantage for the home team? Is it that they don’t have to get on a bus and travel? Maybe. But otherwise, both teams receive a kickoff, either at the start of the game or to begin the second half.

And in a case like Friday, yes, the Barons’ faithful will surely pack the seats. But you can bet that Cocalico’s fans are going to head to Manheim ready to make a lot of noise as well.

Either way, home-field or no home-field advantage, it’s a fun angle to discuss. And it’s surely going to be a fun game to watch Friday.

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Looking ahead to this weekend, both of our schools in the Lititz Record coverage area will be well-represented on big stages in the NCAA playoffs.

In men’s soccer, Warwick grads Austin Hoke, a junior forward, and Steve Small, an assistant coach, will be traveling with Millersville University’s team to Erie to play Mercyhurst in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship game.

Meanwhile, in the NCAA Division-One Field Hockey playoffs, Warwick grad Emma Rissinger is a member of the Maryland team that will face Duke this Friday, Nov. 22 in the Final Four at 2 p.m. in Norfolk, Va. North Carolina will face Connecticut in the other semi-final game.

In the NCAA Division-Two Field Hockey playoffs, Manheim Central’s Sarah Bomberger and Randi Boyd are playing for the Millersville University team that will face Shippensburg in the national semi-finals on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Prior to that, LIU Post will square off with Merrimack at 12:30 p.m. in the other semi-final game.

The team that the Lady Marauders defeated on Saturday was two-time defending national champ West Chester. Warwick players Brynn Adams, Carley Buckwalter and Megan Callanan were part WCU’s team in 2011, while Buckwalter and Callanan repeated with the Lady Rams a year ago.

When you look at the history of NCAA field hockey championship games, it seems that the Lancaster-Lebanon League is to that sport what the Big 33 Classic is to the Super Bowl.

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