Streaking Warriors remain in Section hunt

By on September 23, 2015

 

Goalie Eric Myers shuts down a Red Tornado scoring opportunity by cor¬ralling a corner kick late in the game to secure a 4-1 win for Warwick. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Goalie Eric Myers shuts down a Red Tornado scoring opportunity by corralling a corner kick late in the game to secure a 4-1 win for Warwick. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Warwick boys soccer coach Travis Steedle still recalls an early turning point for his team a year ago.

With his Warriors holding a 3-1 record out of the gates, they managed just one win playing four games in one week against Cedar Crest, Hempfield, Penn Manor and Ephrata.

They went on to finish the season 6-9-1 and out of the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Lo and behold, Warwick had defeated two of their first three opponents this fall when they embarked on that same stretch last week.

This time, the results were different.

Instead of one win, the Warriors got three W’s. And with their 4-1 victory over McCaskey in Lancaster on Monday afternoon, the Warwick boys now find themselves at 6-2 overall (4-2 L-L) and amongst the leaders in Section One.

“This time last year, we were just struggling to keep the morale high,” Steedle said. “Last year, that week was when the wheels kinda fell off for us and we couldn’t get it back. So it’s a different feeling than in years past and it’s fun.”

Goal-scoring is certainly a contributing factor. With eight games left in the regular season, Warwick already has 21 goals this season, just one shy of the 22 they scored in all of 2014.

Junior forward Alex Lalovic is leading the attack with eight goals and four assists.

“That always makes the game more fun,” Steedle said. “We’ve only been shut out once so far this season and that was at Penn Manor. We have only one shutout ourselves. I wish that would be a little bit higher &tstr; we’d have a little better of a defensive record. But it’s coming along. It seems to be getting better every game. The team is having fun. They guys are competing and enjoying and that’s really what it’s about.”

On Monday in Lancaster, the Red Tornado (0-5, 2-6) took a 1-0 lead at the half on a goal by Jack Hershey. But Warwick made a few halftime adjustments and outscored McCaskey 4-0 in the second to grab the win.

“We weren’t playing terribly (in the first half). We just weren’t quite finding the right spots to attack,” Steedle said. “We switched a couple of players around in our midfield, from either more of a defensive role to an attacking role or vice versa. That was really the only personnel adjustments we made, but we also wanted to be a little bit more direct. McCaskey was trying to man-mark Lalovic, so we were looking to get him wide and then exploit the space behind and that seemed to pay off for us.”

Indeed, junior Ethan Price scored the first of his two goals with just 6:00 elapsed in the second to pull Warwick even, and then four minutes later, senior Jared Houser connected for his fourth goal of the season to give them a lead they never lost.

Later, Price and Bewersdorff beat Tornado keeper Danny Lamort (5 saves) just six minutes apart to help the Warriors take command.

For the game, Warwick outshot McCaskey 9-2 and built an 11-4 edge in corner kicks. Eric Myers needed to make just one save for the win in goal.

“These guys are competing, they’re hungry for playoffs, I think, and going 3-1 in a four-game week is huge for them mentally,” Steedle said. “That’s a tough week.”

Playing for the fourth time in six days last Saturday, Lalovic and Kyle Perezous scored second-half goals to snap a 1-1 tie at the break, leading Warwick to a 3-1 victory in Lititz.

Bewersdorff scored in the first half and Houser chipped in with a pair of assists, as Warwick outshot the Mounts 19-8 and generated the game’s only six corner kicks. Myers finished with three saves between the pipes.

In other action last Thursday, Penn Manor’s Sean Borden scored the game’s only goal with 9:00 elapsed in the second half and the Comets shut out Warwick 1-0 in a Section One game in Millersville.

The Warriors certainly had their opportunities, outshooting PM 10-8 in the game, but Comet keeper Jesse Kann came through with nine saves.

Penn Manor had a 10-5 edge in corner kicks and Myers finished with six stops.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 16, Warwick knocked first-place Hempfield from the unbeaten ranks, as Lalovic had a goal and an assist to help lead the Warriors to a big 3-1 win in Lititz.

Steedle described it as his team’s best defensive effort of the season. Although Black Knight star Brendan Keller created his team’s goal, the Warriors were able to bottle him up after that.

“I thought we were gritty, we challenged for everything in the air,” Steedle said. “Other than their goal, (Keller) and Hempfield didn’t really have that many good opportunities. A couple shots from distance, but nothing too threatening.”

Lalovic’s goal proved to be the game-winner, snapping a 1-1 tie with 3:04 left in the half to put Warwick up 2-1 going to the break. Then Houser’s tally with just 53 seconds left in the second sealed it.

“The second half was more of a defensive effort and we got a late insurance goal,” Steedle said. “Everyone played hard. It was a physical game.”

Earlier, Bewersdorff opened the scoring at the 23:52 mark of the first half, and then the Black Knights answered on Joel Afata’s goal. But Myers stopped six of the seven shots he faced to earn the victory.

Hempfield had three of the game’s four corner kicks, but Warwick outshot the Knights 8-7.

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