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Second-half outburst lifts Warwick in DistrictsField Hockey
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
At halftime on Tuesday, Warwick field hockey coach Bob Derr challenged his players to dominate the second half.
Apparently, they listened with open ears.
While building a big advantage in both shots (13-6) and penalty corners (10-3), the 3rd-seeded Lady Warriors erupted to score four goals after the break en route to a 5-0 shellacking of 14th-seeded Governor Mifflin in a District Three Triple-A first-round playoff game at Penn Manor.
The win sends Warwick (18-3) to the District quarter-finals for the first time since 2008. The Lady Warriors, who suffered back-to-back first-round losses the past two years, will face 6th-seeded Red Lion (18-2), a 3-1 winner over Conestoga Valley, at Governor Mifflin High School at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Coming off the emotional high of winning the League crown last Thursday, combined with a sub-par practice on Monday and the distraction of that night’s Lititz Halloween parade, Derr had his concerns about facing the Governor Mifflin (14-7).
And although Warwick (18-3) led 1-0 at the half on Emma Rissinger’s tally with 10:15 elapsed, on assists from Marissa Lutz and Liz Wenger, they weren’t on top of their game.
"I was really concerned about (those factors) coming in and then watching that first half, I mean, that was scary," Derr said. "The ball was going up and down the field very fast and we weren’t controlling any kind of offense… At halftime, we pretty much said, ‘Hey, this is your season. You’re only up 1-0. They can tie that up pretty quick. What you need to do is discourage them and score early and score often in the second half.’"
Score early and often they did. Warwick got four corners in the first two minutes of the half and Wenger converted with 2:36 gone on assists from Emily Harting and Rissinger.
Just over seven minutes later, Bethany Han controlled the ball along the end line and sent a perfect cross to Kiersten Cepeda, who finished to make it 3-0 with 20:09 left.
"In the second half, they turned it on and looked much better than they did the first half," Derr said. "It was nice to see multiple kids scoring. I think what we were doing was turning the ball over and not making good decisions with the ball in the first half. We did a better of connecting passes in the second half and getting the passes to a person in a white jersey and that made a big difference."
For the game, the WHS girls outshot Mifflin 20-11, and Martin’s tally, on a nice feed from Wenger, made it 4-0 with 15:11 to go. Five different girls found the back of the cage for Warwick and Wenger finished with three points on a goal and two assists.
The Lady Warriors completed the scoring with 11:29 left as Harting connected top shelf on a stroke. From there, senior keeper Alexis Charles made two of her 11 stops in the final 2:30 to preserve the shutout.
With that victory behind them, they turned their attention toward this Saturday’s key battle against Red Lion. A win in that game will nail down a PIAA State berth.
"We’re guaranteed two more games, but the key game is Saturday," Derr said. "I want to try to impress upon them that Saturday is huge. You’ve got to win Saturday to move on." More DISTRICTS, page B-5