MC girls outduel Warwick
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Manheim Central was already accustomed to playing in a game four.
Warwick, meanwhile, was hoping that it could be the start of things to come.
Trailing 2-1, but showing nice intensity at the end of game four last Thursday, the Lady Warriors overcame a late five-point deficit to force the game to bonus points. Ultimately, though, the Central girls snapped a 28-28 tie against their back-yard rival on one of senior Kaitlyn Gochenauer’s team-high 12 kills and earned a clinching 30-28 win, sending them home with a 3-1 non-league decision (24-26, in Manheim.
"I did expect (the match) to be tight," said Manheim Central coach Laurie McClure, whose squad improved to 4-0 overall (3-0 Section Two). "We came out against Garden Spot hard and had some close games and we kinda struggled with Conestoga Valley a little bit, so we experienced game four with CV as well. I think we had it in us that we weren’t going to lose and that’s what we did."
Although the loss dropped the Warwick girls to 0-4 overall (0-3 Section One), their record isn’t indicative of how competitive they’ve been in most of their matches. And coach Jen Wanner saw some positives against MC.
"I think that we as a team showed spurts of intensity tonight that we haven’t seen all season," Wanner said. "At the end of the first game and the end of the fourth game, the girls were playing really, really well together. So if we take that intensity and extend it through the length of a game, the length of a match, we’re winning volleyball matches."
Trailing 21-16 in game four, Warwick reeled off four straight points and cut its deficit to 21-20 on a kill by junior Emily Buckwalter, who led the team with 14. After Hannah Metzler (22 digs) made a tremendous defensive save for MC to make it 24-22, Warwick battled back to tie it on Jenna Stoltzfus’ spike and Buckwalter’s serve put Warwick up 25-24.
The two teams then battled back and forth to force ties at 26-26, 27-27 and 28-28 before the Lady Barons finally ended it with back-to-back points, including Gochenauer’s go-ahead blast to put MC up for good.
"I think (Kaitlyn) is doing a tremendous job," McClure said. "It’s a constant reminder that she is a strong player and she can be a go-to person. It’s just a matter that she’s smart with the ball and where she’s placing it. So we try to move her around on the net and get her the opportunity that she has to put the ball away."
Junior Logan Newcomer put the ball away early in game one to put MC on top 7-3. But Warwick responded with a 10-2 run — with Buckwalter recording a couple of kills, Bethany Zimmerman a block, and Greta Weidemoyer an ace — to take a 13-9 lead.
Later, Manheim Central overcame an 18-14 deficit thanks to an 8-1 run with senior Renee Wiegand at the service line to go back in front 22-19. Wiegand, Gochenauer and Megan Herr had three aces apiece to lead the Lady Barons.
But Zimmerman recorded back-to-back points to pull Warwick even, and then the Lady Warriors scored four of the final six points, capped by Buckwalter’s ace, to clinch their game one 26-24 victory.
"It’s fun to play (Manheim Central) because we always have a great crowd and we have a really good following," Wanner said. "We are evenly matched and we’ve gone back and forth. It’s always a battle."
That battle continued in the second game, as Warwick jumped to a 3-0 advantage on early kills by Stoltzfus and Weidmoyer, and Central answered with a 12-3 spurt, capped by Lauree Wiegand and Newcomer, to go up 12-6.
The Lady Warriors twice got within a point, 14-13 and 16-15, but that’s as close as they would get and Central finished off a 25-22 game two victory. The MC girls helped their cause with solid defense in the match, often extending rallies with clutch digs.
"Central’s a very scrappy team and I think there were times we got a little surprised by their aggressiveness and scrappy defense," said Wanner, who squad was led by junior Abby Wenger’s 15 digs.
"(Defense) has definitely been a strength," McClure said, "and it’s something that we’re really focusing on because that’s what does win games. So it’s something we focus on and we’ve worked a lot to make sure that we’re going to hustle and we have the heart that we’re not going to let a ball drop on our side."
Wenger paced the Lady Warriors with three aces, and one of those serves helped Warwick battle back from an early deficit in game three to tie it 8-all. Then Buckwalter’s kill forged a 9-9 tie moments later.
But Lauree Wiegand, Gochenauer and Metzler scored points, and Gochenauer served an ace, as Central went on a 12-5 run to grab its biggest lead of the game, 21-14. Warwick got an ace from Grace Scheuerman to cut its deficit to 23-19, but that’s as close as they would get.
"They have the heart and right now, I think they’re deciding, are they a good team or not and are they going to win these matches," McClure said. "It’s starting to come together that they’re believing in themselves and it’s working."
Warwick, meanwhile, is hoping to continue learning from its mistakes and moving in the right direction.
"I think we are a team that is going to peak later in the year," Wanner said. "I see things happen on the court (like) miscommunication errors — not blatant, but just little missed timings and things like that which are characteristic of a team that isn’t quite comfortable playing together yet. So I feel like we’re getting better and we will peak later and continue to get better in every match."
Last Tuesday, the Warriors were swept by defending state champion Hempfield 25-16, 25-11 and 25-16. The first set was the closest as Warwick hung with the state’s top-ranked team and fought to a 14-14 tie. But then Hempfield rallied to score 11 of the final 13 points of the set. The second and third sets saw Hempfield take early leads and cruise to victory. Stoltzfus and Buckwalter led the Warriors with eight kills apiece. Grace Scheuerman recorded two serving aces. Defensively, Wenger led Warwick with nine digs. Scheuerman added six digs and Buckwalter had five digs.
The Lady Warriors traveled to McCaskey on Tuesday night. Look for results from that match in the Sept. 29 issue of the Lititz Record. Warwick hosts Cedar Crest tonight (Thursday) before holding its tournament this weekend at Warwick High School. The Warwick JV hosts its tournament Friday night. The Warwick varsity will host its tournament Saturday morning and afternoon.
In other action, the Manheim Central girls got 11 kills and three blocks from Gochenauer last Tuesday, Sept. 13 on their way to a 3-0 sweep of Conestoga Valley in a Section Three match in Manheim.
After pulling a out a hard-fought 25-22 win in game one, the Lady Barons earned an easy 25-9 decision in game two. The Buckskins came back strong in the third and stretched the match to overtime, but the Central girls held on for the 29-27 conquest.
Metzler and Gochenauer shared team-high honors with three aces apiece, and junior Julie Smith recorded a team-best 18 digs. More VOLLEYBALL, page B-2