Warriors keep pace With win over McCaskey, WHS boys remain just two points out of first
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
To date, the Warwick boys have played 28 halves of soccer this season.
The first half against McCaskey on Monday, though, ranked among their best.
"It’s one of the best halves we’ve played," Warwick coach Dale Stoltzfus said.
That was reflected in a six-goal outburst, as the Warriors jumped to a commanding 6-0 lead at the break and easily tamed the Red Tornados 6-2 in a Section One game in Lititz.
Ryan Bertrando scored three goals and added one assist, while Chris Sandkuhler chipped in with three helpers to help pace a dominant first-half attack.
"Some of our ball possession, movement off ball, reading defensively (was very good)," Stoltzfus said. "We just read when to make the steps, the goals were at speed, and it was the best half we’ve played as far as a half."
The victory over the Tornado improved the Warriors’ record to 10-1-1 in Section play (11-2-1 overall), good for 31 points, and kept them on the heels of first-place Hempfield (11-1-0, 33 points), just two points out of the top spot. Four games remain in the regular season, including a key battle against the Black Knights next Tuesday, Oct. 11, but the Warwick boys are not looking ahead.
"One game at a time," Stoltzfus said. "We’re aware of what’s at stake for us, but you can’t be 5-0 if you don’t go 1-0 first. So that’s what we need to get accomplished."
It didn’t take long for Warwick to set the tone for a nice accomplishment on Monday. Bertrando scored two of his three goals in the first 6:46 to put the Warriors in control. Shawn Mearig and Sankuhler assisted on the first one, and then Asher Klahold set up the second.
Overall, the WHS boys outshot McCaskey 11-4 in the game, and Derek Adams, on an assist from Bertrando, and Klahold, from Sandkuhler, pushed the lead to 4-0 with 11:13 remaining in the half.
Bertrando completed his hat trick in the 36th minute, on a feed from Sandkuhler, and then Wyatt May’s header with 2:11 to go, with an assist from Matt Engle, made it 6-0. Warwick also built a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
In the second half, McCaskey got on the scoreboard with goals from Dayton Trump and Eric Bailey, but the Warriors’ lead was never threatened. Keepers Tanner Biemesderfer (1) and Kyle Maguire (3) combined to make four stops in goal.
"In the second half, we tried to work on a little different marking system to head into Penn Manor (on Wednesday)," Stoltzfus said. "Whether that system was what led to the goal, we don’t know … It’s nice to get shutouts, but at the same time, we have three big games this week, some of the starters were out, and it’s good to get some other people some minutes."
After playing Penn Manor on Wednesday, the Warriors conclude their week hosting Cedar Crest on Friday.
Asked if he likes what his team is doing heading into the home stretch of the regular season, Stoltzfus said, "If we get a few people healthy, but the first half today was as nice a soccer as we’ve played. If we keep focusing and keep going, yes."
In other action last Friday, Mearig and Bertrando scored second-half goals, as the Warriors broke open a one-goal game at the half and defeated Lampeter-Strasburg 4-1 in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz. That was the completion of a game suspended due to inclement weather last Tuesday, Sept. 27, and it finished a busy week for Warwick in which they finished 4-0.
Mearig and Chris Sandkuhler each had a goal and an assist to lead the Warriors, who built an 18-12 edge in shots. Both teams manufacted four corner kicks.
Sandkuhler and Jonathan Wenger scored just 4:35 apart in the first half to give Warwick an early 2-0 lead. Matt Engle assisted on Sandkuhler’s tally.
The Pioneers, though, got on the scoreboard thanks to Abe Talbot to make it a one-goal game, and that’s how it stayed at the half.
But Mearig restored Warwick’s two-goal lead just 2:16 into the second and then Bertrando added an insurance tally with 13:52 remaining in the game.
Biemesderfer (3) and Maguire (8) combined for eight saves in goal.
Last Thursday, Armin Efendic’s goal in the 86th minute was the game-winner as Warwick knocked off Section Two-leading Conestoga Valley in overtime in Witmer.
That capped a game in which the Warriors twice battled back from one-goal deficits. Including an earlier tie against Manheim Township, the Warwick boys are now 1-0-1 in OT games this fall.
"We’ve had a couple of games this year where we’ve been behind and we’ve played some nice soccer working back to get it even," Stoltzfus said. "Twice we did it at CV. Sometimes teams panic, (but) this team was playing some nice soccer and got the equalizer late in the game and won it in overtime. It’s not easy to come back in this game when you’re playing some good opponents. It was a good win for us."
The Bucks, who outshot Warwick 8-5, took the early lead when senior Troy Amspacher connected with just 5:00 elapsed.
It stayed that at the break, but then Jonathan Wenger’s tally with 6:00 gone in the second half pulled the Warriors even.
Robbie Cardina put CV back in front in the 64th minute, and Warwick again battled back to get the equalizer, this time from Klahold in the 73rd minute to send it to OT.
That’s where Efendic ended it midway through the OT session. Biemesderfer finished with six stops to record the win in goal.
Last Wednesday, Sandkuhler scored two first-half goals and keeper Maguire stopped all three shots he faced as Warwick shut out Solanco 3-0 in Quarryville.
Sandkuhler scored less than six minutes apart in the opening half, at 28:59 and 34:40 with assists from Bertrando and Klahold, to give the Warriors a lead they never lost. The Warwick boys outshot the Mules 10-3, but it remained a two-goal game until Mearig completed the scoring with an unassisted tally with 12:15 elapsed in the second half.
The Warriors also had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks in the Section One-Two crossover game. More WHS BOYS, page B-7