Kerek’s hat trick leads Warriors in win over West York

By on September 6, 2017
Warwick players Jaden Bollinger (far left), Austin Keares (13), and Alex Kerek (7) celebrate a first-half goal in the Warriors’ 6-1 win over West York last Saturday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick players Jaden Bollinger (far left), Austin Keares (13), and Alex Kerek (7) celebrate a first-half goal in the Warriors’ 6-1 win over West York last Saturday. Photo by Missi Mortimer

In the off-season, Warwick’s Alex Kerek made a transition, moving from a striker position to an attacking midfielder spot.

The adjustment seems to be going very well for the Warrior senior.

Last Saturday in rain-soaked Lititz, Kerek scored a hat trick to lead the Warwick boys in a 6-1 non-league pummeling of West York. He was one of four different goal scorers for Warwick, as Garett Springer, Jason Ciampaglia, and Nino Efendic also found the back of the net, while Ash Deery chipped in four assists.

“(Alex) has got a point-guard mentality,” Warrior coach Gordy Cowher said, “where he sees the field and plays through balls, but also he would have more of the field in front of him as opposed to playing with his back. Today, he really came out of his shell and was exactly where he needed to be, scoring goals, but also creating opportunities for other people too.”

Those opportunities amounted to a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks and a 17-7 edge in shots for the Warriors, who will now take a 1-0 record into their Section One opener against Lebanon today (Thursday) in Lititz.

“Right now, I am (feeling good),” Cowher said. “But it’s just the start of a long season, so we’ll see if we maintain focus. I think the biggest challenge we have as a coaching staff is making sure we keep them grounded. We realize that, yes, 6-1 is a nice convincing victory, but at this point, we haven’t achieved anything … We’ve got to show up, if you will, with a lunch pail mentality every day at practice.”

The Warriors certainly brought a lunch pail mentality into their game against the Bulldogs (0-1), as Springer and Kerek each dented the twine in the game’s opening seven minutes.

The fast start was just what the doctor ordered.

“Absolutely, it was immense,” Cowher said. “All of the coaches, and Wags (Matt Wagner) and Jackson (Corrigan) said before, ‘Come out, we must establish who we are and set that tone right away,’ and scoring in the first 20, 30 seconds was huge because it gives them confidence that we know we can score, it put (West York) on their heels. Then to come back six, seven minutes later and get the second one really re-established that.”

Ciampaglia notched his first goal of the season with 5:33 left in the half, and then Kerek picked up his second tally with just :17.9 remaining on the clock, making it 4-0. Brandon Perezous and Springer each added an assist.

The Warriors’ depth was evident in the contest, as they sent wave after wave of scoring chances at West York’s defense even while going to their bench.

“Not only did we put six in the back of the net,” Cowher said, “but there were a number of other good chances that we had. We didn’t quite capitalize on them, but we did generate. Something we talked about as we were going through the pre-season, we have a lot of talent up top. Not only just our starting three, but when we go to the bench, there’s not much of a drop-off.”

In all, the Warriors sent nine first-half shots at West York keeper Connor Gerrick, and although WHS goalie Andrew Acebo was never seriously threatened, he saved all three shots he faced in the opening 40 minutes to keep the Bulldogs scoreless at half. Connor Cowher (2) and Brendan Gates (1) also combined for three stops between the pipes.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is that the goalie position at any level is so cerebral and a lot of it is making good decisions,” Cowher remarked. “Today, I think (Andrew) came out when he was supposed to, he stayed when he was supposed to … He made good decisions.”

With just 3:30 elapsed in the second half, Efendic connected to stretch the margin to five, but West York spoiled the shutout at the 30:27 mark, as Michael Washington got behind the Warrior defense and tapped home the Bulldogs’ only goal of the game.

From there, Kerek finished off the hat trick with 8:20 left in the game, tucking home a nice shot just inside the left post to complete the game’s scoring.

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