Lady Warriors enter new season with high expectations
That’s a word that might best describe the 2013 Warwick field hockey team.
Having lost three seniors from last year’s squad which finished 11-9-1 – falling to Penn Manor in the L-L semi-finals and then to Hempfield in a District Three Triple-A first-round game – the Lady Warriors bring back a lot of experience in 2013.
But there is still plenty of work ahead for the Warwick girls as they head into a tough opening weekend featuring District Three Double-A powerhouses Oley Valley and Crestwood this Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Recently, Lititz Record Express sports editor chatted with Warwick coach Bob Derr about the upcoming season. The following is a transcript of their conversation.
Bruce Morgan: How have things been going so far?
Bob Derr: We have a lot of work to do. We have the potential, but a couple of things that are hurting us right now are a couple of the girls didn’t come in (to pre-season practices) fit. So they’re not passing the fitness test and you can’t play unless you pass the fitness test. So they’ve got to take care of that. And then Noelle Kephart is injured. Hopefully, Courtney Weaver is going to be OK. She got hit on the knee twice (Tuesday) with a ball, so I hope that she’ll be OK to play. And our depth chart is not really deep as far as the elite level. We have good kids that are fundamentally sound, but just not quite at that elite level of competition that you’ve got to be at to play in the league that we compete in and to compete in the schedule that we’ve got. This weekend, we’ve got the returning District champions (Oley Valley on Friday) and the returning State champions (at Crestwood on Saturday) in Double-A. So that’s a huge plate to put on them this early in the season.
BM: Talk about the play day that you had last Saturday.
BD: The play day definitely opened up our eyes. The two areas that we’re struggling with are, at the attacking end of the field, our forwards aren’t getting open for a pass. They’re being marked very tight. They’re basically not getting the job done because they’re not getting free. And our defense, bringing the ball out of the defensive one-third, we struggled getting the ball up the field. So we’ve got to make better decisions with the ball and even the pace of that has got to be a little bit quicker so that we catch the other team off guard and not give them much time to set up. So our transition from defense to offense has to be a lot quicker so that we can find the open people. That’s two huge parts of the game because, one, you’ve got to get the ball out of your defensive end, and two, when you’re getting the ball in the attacking one-third, we’re not getting the ball. We’re getting beat to the ball. So those are two areas that have to be addressed. The positive thing is we have the personnel. They’ve just got to get playing together a little bit better than what they are right now. Hopefully that will improve as the season goes on.
BM: You have pretty high expectations for this team, I would imagine, with losing only three seniors from the 2012 squad.
BD: Oh yeah, with the personnel we have, I expect this team to do extremely well. But just an example in the play day, we went up against Hershey and that was a good battle. Hershey pretty much dominated us but we tied the game up 1-1. CB South is a very organized program, their coach is really good at organizing the team on the field and playing a good structural game and we got by them 1-0. That game was pretty much up and down the field. Wilson is usually always good too and we did a great job on penalty corners against them. We scored three goals on penalty corners and they were three penalty corners in a row – the same shot, same spot. So we were executing really well on the penalty corner and we beat them 3-1. Then later on, we played a team that we have never lost to in a play day and they beat us 2-1. We got down 2-0, but the energy was not there and the movement of the ball and off the ball was non-existent. It was like we just (thought), ‘We have this team and we’re going to beat them,’ and all of a sudden, we found ourselves down 2-0. We came back and made it 2-1 and had some more opportunities, but we shot ourselves in the foot early. So you just don’t know what they’re going to do, and right now, it’s a little inconsistent play. But the potential is definitely there. The expectations are very high. The coaching staff has very high expectations for the team and I think the kids also do too. But they’ve got to realize the schedule that is placed in front of them is very competitive. I don’t select non-league games against weak teams. We’re going to go against the best around. And then of course, the league we play in with Penn Manor, Hempfield and Conestoga Valley – Cedar Crest is on their way up – it’s going to be a tough schedule to get through. So they can’t let up anytime. Hopefully we can get to that point … We want to be 2-0 after the first week. Playing Oley Valley and Crestwood is definitely going to prepare us for Hempfield, which is our first league game the following Wednesday. We’ll definitely be prepared for a very well-organized team and lots of speed.
BM: Can you take me through who you have at the forward positions?
BD: Right now, the forwards we’re looking at are Lauren Bollinger, Hannah Bollinger, Lauren Sammet, Delaney Ryan, Marleise Emrhein, Jessica Cochis, Lucy Reed, Noelle Kephart is on the injured list, and possibly Jamie Martin.
BM: What about your midfielders?
BD: Midfielders are Liz Wenger, Becky Kauffman, and then you’re going to get repeats – Jess Cochis, Hannah Bollinger, Jamie Martin, Marleise Emrhein. Those are the midfielders that we’re looking at. We just don’t know who’s going to fill in what spot.
BM: So you’re still experimenting with the best fits at this point?
BD: Yes, we don’t have a solid lineup right now. We have a couple of people in spots, but it’s not really finalized.
BM: Talk about the job that Liz Wenger is doing at center mid for you right now.
BD: She’s doing really well. She’s a great leader on the field. I think she’s just doing a great job leading and keeping the kids on task and on the team. I’m looking for her to take more charge in the attacking end because we’re playing a different system (3-3-3-1, plus the goalie) and it’s going to allow the midfield to shoot through and join the attack more than what we did last year.
BM: What about the defenders and goalies?
BD: The backs, I think, are going to be our strength right now. I’ve got Jaycie St. John at the sweeper position. She’s looking really good and she’s understanding her role in that position. And then the three backs right now are Liz Wolfe, Casie Stief and Courtney Weaver, who are doing a really good job. Then in reserve I have Nikki Calamia and Nikki could probably play midfield too. She’s coming back from all those concussions last spring, so she’s not totally back yet fitness-wise. She wasn’t allowed to do anything until the first day of practice. She’s getting there though – she’s a fighter. Kali Shelley and Hannah Weidman are the other ones. (Hannah’s) doing alright. She’s just got to get more low defense. And we have three decent goalkeepers. It’s still a battle with who’s going to win that spot. That’s Megan Bomba, Kailynne Reinhoehl and Gaby Spatz.
BM: What kind of leadership are you getting from the seniors?
BD: They’re doing a great job in taking care of things with the team. They’ve just got to continue to stay on them. They can’t let them rest, even when they’re tired. When they’re tired, they’ve got to realize that they are tired and they need to help each other to step up the play. We had scrimmages and they did well – I’ve got to admit that. The scrimmages that we played, except for that one, they played a good strong game. They were on task. So it’s just a matter of (doing it) when it counts starting Friday. The good thing is we’re at home. Hopefully we can get out of the gate and get not only just a well-played game, but also a victory. That will get us out of the blocks quick and then we’ll take that long trip up to Crestwood on Saturday.
BM: What are your goals for this team? Is a Section One championship a realistic goal for this team?
BD: My goal as an outcome is to win every game. But win, lose or tie, as long as they play a real organized game and play a competitive game and they never give up, then I got the best out of them each and every time they stepped on the field.
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-2