Lady Warriors eliminated from Districts with loss to Exeter
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Warwick stood on the cusp of some program history last Wednesday.
With a win over Exeter in the District Three Triple-A girls volleyball quarterfinals, the Lady Warriors would surpass their deepest-ever run in the post-season.
It wasn’t meant to be however, as Exeter sophomore outside hitter Elizabeth Schultz recorded nine of her team-high 14 kills in the opening game and the 2nd-seeded Lady Eagles went on to defeat 10th-seeded Warwick 3-0 (25-19, 25-9, 25-19) at Hempfield.
With the loss, the Lady Warriors ended their season with a 12-4 overall record, while Exeter moved on to the semi-finals, where they knocked off 6th-seeded Central York 3-2.
"It kinda felt like the girls just weren’t quite playing confidently," Warwick senior Emily Buckwalter said of her team’s loss to the Lady Eagles. "We stuck right with them, the second-ranked team in the District, and we weren’t even playing our top game. (We were) just a little bit sloppy and a little disappointing that it wasn’t our best show for the last game."
In both games one and three, Warwick was within one 20-19 late, before the Exeter girls ended it with the final six points. Despite their competitiveness, however, Warwick coach Jen Wanner came away frustrated that her squad didn’t play with more energy and motivation.
"I don’t think that Exeter did anything tonight that we didn’t have an answer for," Wanner remarked. "I felt like emotionally tonight, we as a team were very down. We didn’t get excited about anything. It looked to me like we didn’t want to be here. It looked to me like it didn’t make a difference of what was going on. I mean, I was frustrated from the bench because what we needed was for someone to light a fire and to show some competitiveness. I had one or two girls out on the court talking and that’s it. Everybody else was stoic. And we talked about it in timeouts how important it is to make that change and have that energy and they did not do it."
Warwick actually led 6-5 in the first game, and then Exeter, with a sophomore-dominated roster, answered with an 8-3 run to go in front by a 13-9 score.
A net serve by the Lady Eagles allowed Warwick to tie the game 18-all, but then Schultz’s kill gave the Exeter girls a lead they never relinquished, and they went on to score seven of the next eight points to put it away.
"I think (Schultz) was just swinging really aggressively and she was moving the ball around on defense, that was the big thing," Buckwalter said. "It wasn’t even necessarily how hard she was hitting it, but (she had) just really good placement and our block wasn’t much of a factor at that point, which was really hurting us. She was just hitting multiple different spots and it was hard to know where it was going to go."
Unfortunately for the Lady Warriors, they never got on track in game two, as Exeter bolted to early leads of 5-0 and 15-4 on their way to an easy 16-point win. Sophomore Shannon Restrepo had two of her team-high seven aces to help the Lady Eagles get the upper hand, while sophomore Danielle Faust served two others in addition to recording three kills in that game.
"Exeter is a good serving team," Wanner said. "They have a couple of jump-servers and we have been working on that in practice. I think in game two, we got in a little rut with the one girl serving. But I think overall, we did a decent job of passing jump serve. I felt like for our serve receive, it was almost more like a lack of communication. There were times we passed extremely well, and we passed the same server extremely well. Then there were other times when it was just kinda very lax and people weren’t talking and people weren’t sure who was going to hit the ball and so on."
Senior Greta Weidemoyer, who led Warwick with nine kills, gave her team a 2-0 lead in game three with a tip and a block. Later, sophomore Gia Gruett’s tip put the Lady Warriors up 9-8. But that would be the WHS girls’ final lead of the night.
After an Exeter hitting error tied the score at 12-all, the Lady Eagles scored the next three points to take the lead for good. Warwick was within one, 20-19, late, but Schultz’s kill started Exeter on a match ending 5-0 run.
Senior Abby Wenger had a team-high 10 digs for the Lady Warriors and Tristan Booker served the team’s only ace.
"Exeter is a really good team," said Buckwalter, who finished with five kills. "They were just a lot more consistent on offense and just a little more aggressive offensively."
In the big scheme of things, however, Buckwalter considered the season a success.
"It’s the furthest I’ve gotten since my freshman year and we’re tied for the furthest Warwick’s ever gotten, so we can’t complain with that," she said. "We’ve got to be happy that we made it this far and be thankful for the opportunities we had."
Added Wanner: "I’m happy with the season because we finally have made our presence known back in playoffs. It’s been a couple of years since we have made noise playoff-wise and I think that yes, it’s a disappointing end because I know this was not our best volleyball, and at this point in the year, you always want to play your best volleyball. However, people are talking about Warwick again and I think we’re a more respected team than we were last year and the year before. Saying good-bye to a great core group of seniors in Bucky and Greta and Abby, I think that for them, this was their year to get us back up there. I’m an extremely competitive person, I’m an extremely competitive coach. So for us not to have won anything this year, that’s a disappointment because I think I would have loved to see Hempfield in the League finals. I would have loved to see Central York in a District semi-final. And I think we’re capable of being there. But I think the inconsistency of our motivation and emotion as demonstrated against Garden Spot and against Exeter tonight, I think that was kind of our Achilles heel. And when Warwick showed up to play, we definitely got some people talking. But then the inconsistency kinda really got us in the end. I think overall, (it was) a good, solid season and tough to say good-bye to those three girls, those three seniors who have been with us and playing together for so long." More LADY WARRIORS, page B-4