Penn Manor tops Warwick in battle for first place
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Once the downpour of rain stopped on Monday, Penn Manor brought a deluge of offense against Warwick in their battle for first place.
Finally, with just 2:14 left in the second half, the Lady Comets’ Rachel Suter blistered a shot into the back of the cage and Penn Manor held on for a 1-0 win in Millersville.
With the win, Penn Manor (10-1 L-L) takes sole possession of first place in the Section One standings, one game ahead of Warwick (9-2 L-L, 12-4-1 overall) and Hempfield (9-2 L-L) with one game left in the regular season. On Wednesday, the Lady Comets headed to Hempfield, who earlier defeated Penn Manor 1-0 this season, while Warwick traveled to Conestoga Valley. If the Lady Knights again knock off Penn Manor and the Lady Warriors defeat CV, Warwick and the Lady Comets would be Section One co-champs. Penn Manor, though, would earn the higher seed in the L-L playoffs, which start this Saturday.
"That would be a gift to us," Warwick coach Bob Derr said of the possibility of Hempfield defeating Penn Manor. "But that’s going to be a (tough game against CV) on the grass. I’m a little worried there. I don’t know if we can beat them on the grass. They’re not a good turf team, but they’re a great grass team."
Penn Manor was a great team on Monday night, generating a 17-2 advantage in corners while outshooting the Lady Warriors 6-3. Although it remained scoreless at the half, the Lady Comets had the best scoring chance in the opening 30 minutes when Suter’s reverse stick shot off a penalty corner went high on one of their seven first-half corners.
"We definitely took a beating," Derr said. "What’d we have have … two corners, three shots? Wow. Compared to the last time (a 2-1 Penn Manor win), when it was 12 (corners) and seven (shots), even for both teams? Yeah, it was definitely a different game."
Warwick’s best scoring opportunity came with just over 24 minutes left in the second, as Liz Wenger carried the ball with speed up the gut and dished to Marleise Emrhein, whose re-direction was turned away by Penn Manor keeper Desiree Landis to keep it scoreless.
"We had that one trip and they made a nice save on that," Derr said. "We didn’t generate any offense at all. (Penn Manor coach Matt Soto) made some great adjustments from the last time we played and we just couldn’t get the ball out of our defensive one-third. Kudos go to them. They did a great job of taking away our transfers and anything in the middle."
To the credit of Warwick’s defense, they held Penn Manor to just six shots, despite the Lady Comets having them pinned in their defensive end for most of the night. Jaycie St. John made a clutch defensive save behind keeper Kailynne Reinoehl (4 saves) with 18:45 to go.
"Kudos go to our defensive corner unit," Derr said. "Boy, they did an outstanding job. I mean, I’ve got to give them credit, taking that many defensive corners and only allowing six shots on the goal? That was huge."
Ultimately, though, on Penn Manor’s 17th and final corner, Cassie Kline inserted the ball to Suter at the top of the circle, who made no mistake in firing home the game-winner with 27:46 elapsed in the second half.
"That was pretty simple – we got our (butt) kicked," Derr said.
Last Friday, Lucy Reed scored three goals and the Lady Warriors bounced Ephrata 4-1 in a non-league battle of Section leaders at Grosh Field in Lititz.
The Lady Mounts, who sit atop the Section Two standings, took a 1-0 lead with just 5:55 elapsed on a goal by Morgan Weaver.
It stayed that way for nearly seven minutes until Noelle Kephart answered for Section One co-leader Warwick. Then Reed connected for back-to-back goals just over four minutes apart, putting the Lady Warriors up 3-1 with 3:45 remaining in the half.
The WHS sophomore completed the hat trick at 19:50 of the second and gave the Lady Warriors their final margin of victory. Marleise Emrhein added an assist.
For the game, Warwick outshot Ephrata 20-7 in front of keepers Kailynne Reinoehl (5 saves) and Gaby Spatz, who combined for the win. Jaycie St. John also had a defensive save.
The Warwick girls also held a 14-7 advantage in penalty corners.
Last Thursday, Warwick got goal-production from four different players and cruised to a 4-1 win over visiting Cedar Crest.
Kephart, Emrhein and Reed all scored in the first half, as the Lady Warriors took a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Jamie Martin’s second-half goal completed the scoring for the Warwick girls, who outshot Crest 11-3 while holding a 13-4 edge in corners.
Spatz (2 saves), Reinoehl and Megan Bomba shared goalkeeper duties for Warwick.
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-3