Penn Manor tops Warwick 3-1 to advance to L-L finals
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Knowing his team had struggled to create scoring chances against Penn Manor in two earlier meetings this fall, Warwick field hockey coach Bob Derr was hoping for a low-scoring game against the Lady Comets on Tuesday.
Or even better yet would have been to keep PM off the scoreboard altogether.
Unfortunately for the Warwick girls, it didn’t happen, as Lady Comets’ senior Shannon Sloss scored two goals, including an insurance tally with 10:00 left in the second half, and Penn Manor went on to beat the Lady Warriors 3-1 in the L-L League semi-finals at Grosh Field in Lititz.
Penn Manor, which lost 2-1 in overtime to Warwick in the 2011 L-L finals, will play Hempfield (a 3-2 winner over Donegal) tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. at Manheim Township.
"They’re good," Derr said of Penn Manor. "Defensively and offensively, both sides of the ball, they’re just better than us. We just could not match them … I thought we could do a better job than what we did."
In their efforts to limit Penn Manor’s offensive opportunities, Warwick (11-8-1 overall) dropped a fourth player (Noelle Kephart) to join Courtney Weaver, Ericka Griffith and Jaycie St. John on defense.
Although Warwick was unable to get as much practice time as they would have liked on their turf, due to hosting the L-L girls soccer quarter-finals on Monday, the strategy worked until Sloss got Penn Manor on the board with 12:15 elapsed in the first half, scoring into the left corner of the cage.
Just over seven minutes later, Erin McCoy dribbled the ball about 30 yard into Warwick’s end, cut right and found the back of the cage to put PM up 2-0 with 10:25 left in the half.
The Lady Comets scored on two of its first three shots and went on to build a 13-4 edge in that category against Warwick keeper Kailynne Reinoehl (10 saves) for the game. Plus, Warwick was held to only one corner, to 12 for Penn Manor.
"We changed up our defense, we thought we’d try something different, and it seemed to be working in the beginning. And then all of a sudden, they got into our defensive end and they just held us there for the longest time," Derr said. "If you can keep all 13 shots out, you did a heck of a job."
After Warwick was unable to get any shots against PM’s defense in two regular-season losses, junior Liz Wenger finally tested Lady Comets’ keeper Desiree Landis with 15:52 left in the first half, and then Autumn Hess scored with 6:12 left in the stanza, on a cross from the right wing by Marleise Emrhein, making it 2-1.
It then stayed that way into the second half and the Warwick girls seemed to be gaining a little bit of confidence. In fact, Landis had to come up with back-to-back saves following a rush into the circle by Wenger with just under 20:00 remaining.
But that was the extent of Warwick’s attack, as they had difficulties sustaining offensive pressure in the final third against PM’s defensive unit of Michelle Enck, Emma Evarts, Mackenzie Herr, Julia Hasircoglu and Kayla Herr.
"Even after we scored that goal, we couldn’t generate a lot more offense. Their backs did really well," Derr said. "It’s the first time I really noticed their backs. Their backs definitely shut us down."
Eventually, Sloss’ second goal of the game, on an assist from Michelle Enck, with 20:00 elapsed in the second was the back-breaker.
Warwick, seeded 11th in Districts, will try to rebound from Tuesday’s loss when it faces 6th-seeded Hempfield in the opening round of the District Three Triple-A playoffs next Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. at Penn Manor.
In the L-L League quarters last Saturday at Ephrata, Jamie Martin snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring two goals within a span of just 41 seconds in the second half, helping the Lady Warriors get past Section Three champion Lancaster Mennonite by a 5-3 score.
Those two goals by Martin completed a hat trick for the sophomore midfielder, who also scored on a penalty stroke in the opening stanza when the Warwick girls battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1.
But she also had to overcome a little bit of adversity in the second half, having earlier shot wide on a penalty stroke opportunity with 17:47 elapsed in the period. Following a brief trip to the sideline to collect herself, Martin was right on the money, putting the ball behind LMH keeper Kelsey Troyer to give Warwick the lead for good with 10:43 remaining in regulation. Less than a minute later, Martin added an insurance tally and that was all Warwick needed.
Although the Lady Warriors dominated in shots on goal, 24-7, it was the Lady Blazers who actually jumped to the early lead, with Ketura Landis and Emily Brabazon giving their team a 2-0 lead with just 6:17 elapsed.
Junior Liz Wenger got one back for the Lady Warriors and then Carissa Gehman restored LMH’s two-goal cushion a short time later. But Kiersten Cepeda and Martin connected in the final 3:02 of the half to bring the Warwick girls even heading to the intermission. Martin also picked up an assist in the game.
In the second half, the Lady Warriors controlled the play, taking advantage of Martin’s back-to-back tallies while holding the Lady Blazers to just two shots. Kailynne Reinoehl finished with three stops and Ericka Griffith picked up a defensive save to help preserve the victory.
Griffith also picked up a defensive save last Wednesday, Oct. 10, while Cepeda added a goal and two assists, as the Lady Warriors shut out Conestoga Valley 3-0 to clinch Section One’s third and final L-L playoff berth. Martin chipped in with a goal and an assist, as the Warwick girls took a 2-0 lead at the half and never looked back.
Warwick, while avenging an earlier 2-0 loss at CV in September, had seven shots in each half against CV keeper Sarah Krause, while outshooting the Lady Bucks by a 14-10 margin. They also dominated with an 18-2 edge in corners, and on the seventh of those opportunities in the opening stanza, Martin finished on a nice passing combination from Cepeda and Marleise Emrhein with 9:56 gone.
After Griffith stopped CV’s Kendra Blantz on the goal line on a corner, the Lady Warriors doubled their lead at the 17:03 mark as Autumn Hess converted from the left post on a goal-mouth pass from Cepeda.
With nearly 10:00 gone in the second, Emrhein was robbed by CV’s Taylor Smucker, who made the first of her three defensive saves. But the Lady Warriors did get a three-goal cushion after Cepeda finished with 11:22 left. Martin and Wenger picked up assists on the play. More LADY WARRIORS, page B-8