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Lady Warriors move on Stief, Bollinger score in District win over Hershey
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Liz Wenger’s tip was nearly going into the goal cage.
Casie Stief just made sure it did.
And when the ball found the back of the cage with just 3:35 elapsed in Warwick’s District Three Triple-A first-round playoff field hockey game against Hershey on Tuesday night, the Lady Warriors could breathe a little sigh of relief.
After all, the Warwick girls had managed just one goal in their past two games, so the offense was a little bit of a concern.
But Hannah Bollinger also added a first-half goal and 7th-seeded Warwick held on for a 2-0 shutout of 10th-seeded Hershey, a long-time rival, at Comet Field in Millersville.
"I’m real pleased," Warwick coach Bob Derr said. "I knew it was going to be intense and a difficult game, but I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I’m really happy for them."
"Coach said they’re always a strong team and he prepared us for that," Stief said. "We didn’t expect this to be easy and it wasn’t."
At game’s end, Warwick’s players autographed a game ball to be presented to the Manheim Township field hockey team, whose varsity assistant coach Colleen Nesbitt died in a tragic motorcycle accident last Saturday. Many of the Lady Blue Streaks’ players were in attendance at Tuesday’s game.
"Their assistant coach has been so nice to us and their whole team is very nice," Warwick senior Liz Wenger said. "It was upsetting (hearing the news)."
While playing the game in Nesbitt’s honor, the Lady Warriors (16-5-1) took a solid step toward making it a positive outcome by scoring on their first corner. Jamie Martin received Stief’s insert at the top of the circle and ripped a shot which Wenger tipped. The ball then found its way to Stief at the left post, and she made no mistake. It was one of five shots for Warwick in the game.
"It was coming fast," Wenger recalled, "so I just tried to trap it down and toward the goal and Casie was able to get a tip on it."
"Huge relief, just to get one goal on them and to go up," Derr said. "And the second one just gives you a little more leeway."
Both teams had four first-half corners – and five for the game – but the Lady Trojans (14-5) managed just two shots, one in each half. Warwick got a scare when junior back Jaycie St. John hurt her ankle in pre-game warm-ups, but after missing the first few minutes of the game, she returned to the field.
"That’s pretty impressive," Derr said of his team giving up just two shots. "You’ve got to give credit to the defense. Our defense has been strong. The four backs and Ryno (keeper Kailynne Reinoehl) in the goal cage, they do an awesome job back there. They’re just really strong defenders. Courtney Weaver, man, she picks up a lot of garbage, and the way she steps in front of people to intercept the ball is just outstanding."
With the defense doing its job to keep Hershey at bay, Warwick doubled its lead with 5:35 left in the half, again on a penalty corner. This time, Marleise Emrhein’s blast from the top of the circle was tipped behind Lady Trojan keeper Jenny Rizzo (3 saves) by Bollinger at the right post, and Warwick took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
"It was good to execute two corners and get goals off of them," Derr said. "We’ve been struggling with that … We were hoping to get a goal early in that second half. If you get the third one, then you’ve got it. The clock could not run fast enough in the second half."
The second half turned into a battle between the 25’s, as Hershey mustered the only corner and only shot on goal after the break. Reinoehl was perfect between the pipes for the shutout.
And although Warwick was never able to get that third goal, it didn’t matter. They punched their ticket to face No. 2-seeded Twin Valley (21-1), a 5-0 winner over Cedar Crest, in the District quarterfinals this Saturday.
For the Lady Warriors, it helped to erase the the memories of last year’s first-round 2-0 loss to L-L rival Hempfield.
"Anyone who was there, that was a tough loss," Stief recalled.
Asked if it added to their motivation for Tuesday’s game against Hershey, Stief said, "Yeah, it did, and also getting to play with our seniors (Courtney Weaver, Liz Wenger and Gaby Spatz) again. We wanted it for them as much as we wanted it for ourselves."