Late goal boosts LD over Warwick 2-1 for District gold
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
With the second-half clock melting away, Warwick was starting to find its groove.
The Lady Warriors had rallied from a 1-0 deficit against Lower Dauphin to tie the game last Saturday, then generated a late penalty corner with an opportunity to go in front.
It was LD, however, that landed the winner.
Although Warwick keeper Kailynne Reinoehl got a piece of Gini Bramely’s flick with just 46.1 seconds remaining, it wasn’t quite enough, as the No. 1-seeded Lady Falcons snapped the tie and claimed a 2-1 win over the 7th-seeded Lady Warriors in the District Three Triple-A championship game at Milton Hershey.
"Heck of a game," Warwick coach Bob Derr said. "I’ve got to commend Lower Dauphin. Fundamentally, they are a very sound team passing, receiving and ball handling. They did a great job on fundamentals … But I’m proud of my team. They did a nice job. You can’t win a District title unless you’re there. There’s only two teams there who have a shot at it and we just didn’t get it."
The Lady Warriors were back in the District finals for the first time since 2006, when they dropped a 3-0 setback to Lower Dauphin.
As for the current players for Warwick (18-6-1) and LD (21-1), they were no strangers to each other. They also met on Sept. 21 in the Lady Falcons tournament, where the Warwick girls suffered a 6-1 loss. That was part of a tough non-league slate which helped to prepare the Lady Warriors for the post-season.
"Going through the District Tournament, there was no weak team," Derr said. "You couldn’t have any letdown. I feel good about that. Our schedule is very competitive and we lost a bunch of games early in the season, but they were against good teams, which then gave us the bad seed. Do I think we were a seventh-seeded team? No. We were definitely not a seventh-seeded team. But because of our schedule, we ended up seventh."
Warwick’s defense had allowed just one goal in their first three District games, including wins over 2nd-seeded Twin Valley and 3rd-seeded Penn Manor. But the Lady Warriors got their stiffest test to date against LD, whose high-pressure style was key in them carrying the offensive play in the first half. In the opening 30 minutes, the Lady Falcons built an 8-1 edge in shots and a 3-1 advantage in corners.
Reinoehl, who finished with 15 saves, was a rock between the pipes, kicking out the first seven shots she faced. But then with 54.8 ticks left before the half, Taylor Lister corraled a rebound, found an opening and scored to put LD in front 1-0 at the break.
"We were on defense a lot and our defensive backs and our goalie did really well," Derr said. "I know Kailynne’s going to take it really hard on the two goals scored because the one (by Lister) was just a bad clear for her, and she knows that, but those things happen. You’re not going to get a perfect clear every time. Then on the second goal, the aerial ball, the ball hit her glove and deflected in. Those things are going to happen. (Kailynne)’s a tough cookie. I’m proud of her."
Warwick senior Liz Wenger threatened in the second half, shooting just wide right with about seven minutes elapsed. Lower Dauphin, though, generated five of the first seven corners looking to double its lead. For the game, LD outshot the Lady Warriors 17-5 and held a 11-5 advantage in corners.
"They’re very disciplined on their structure on the field," Derr said of LD, "which makes it difficult to penetrate."
Penetrate Warwick did, however, on its fourth corner of the game. Casie Stief pushed the ball on the insert to Noelle Kepart, whose blast from the top of the circle beat LD keeper Maddie Lilliock for the equalizer with 11:58 left in the second half.
"I think the last 15 minutes of the game was definitely the best," Warwick senior Courtney Weaver said. "That was awesome when (Noelle) scored, that was a great feeling."
Bramely nearly gave the lead back to LD with 7:08 to go, missing the left post by just inches on a rush into the circle. Derr quickly responded by calling a timeout and then the Lady Warriors picked up their final corner with 2:22 remaining.
"After a timeout again, we kinda picked up our level of play," Wenger said.
"The thing that impressed me the most about us was the team’s ability to not give up," Derr said. "They kept the game plan in place and the main thing was to play a fast-paced game and see if we can’t wear them down."
The Lady Warriors went back to Kephart on the corner, but on the worn down Milton Hershey field, the Warwick junior didn’t get a clean trap and Lilliock made a kick save to keep the score tied.
That set the stage for LD’s final corner with 1:10 to go. Following a Lady Falcons’ timeout, Devyn Barry got the ball to Bramely, and her flick into the back of the cage with 46.1 seconds to go proved to be the game-winner.
"I think we (represented ourselves well)," Wenger said. "It was a tough game, obviously. It was a dogfight at some points. It’s unfortunate that (LD) scored so late in the game because if we’d have had another minute or two, we might have been able to get a corner and score off it."
"I’m proud of the way we fought," Weaver added. "We came back 1-1. We could see they were on their heels, so it was a good fight. I’m proud of our team."
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-6