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Warriors secure berth in District playoffs
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Even with three straight wins in league play to finish the season, capped by its 7-0 shutout of Lancaster Catholic/Lancaster Country Day on Senior Night last Wednesday, May 2, the Warwick boys lacrosse team fell just one game short of clinching a berth in the L-L League playoffs.
But it did help propel them to a spot in the District Three Triple-A Tournament, which gets underway next Tuesday, May 15.
Only the top 16 teams advance, and through Sunday, the Warriors (8-4 L-L, 10-7 overall) were 16th in the latest District power rankings. As of deadline, Warwick’s opponent was still to be determined, but the Warriors will be hoping to build on the momentum they gained by winning three of its final four overall games.
"We have a young offense with only two seniors that saw significant time," Warwick coach Chris Schmehl remarked, "so we’ve kinda been working through some things. The underclassmen have been stepping up a little bit at the end of the year and we’ve been getting a good contribution from a lot of different guys."
It was early in the year that Warwick dropped a tight 5-4 decision to Penn Manor, and that game ended up looming big in the final L-L standings, as the Comets grabbed the fourth and final League playoff berth, just one game ahead of the fifth-place Warriors.
"We knew early in the season that it was likely going to be an important game for the League playoffs because we knew Hempfield and Township were strong and and Ephrata was very strong this year," Schmehl said. "So we knew that was going to have an impact on the future of the season."
Nick Hohman had an impact in the Warriors’ win over the Crusaders last Wednesday, scoring two goals and adding an assist. The WHS junior recorded the first of his two tallies with 3:05 left in the first quarter to make it 1-0 after one.
"(Catholic) played a bit of a different type of defense on us," Schmehl said. "They were shutting off some of our guys, having one guy just blanket him and go everywhere he went. They started off doing it against Nick (Hohman) and also against JA Howland, so we were trying to move the ball in transition up and down the field before they could get into their defense."
Freshman Kobi Biemesderfer’s unassisted goal with 7:55 elapsed in the second doubled the lead, and then 57 seconds later, junior Colin Schultz converted on a nice pass from senior J.A. Howland with the Warriors playing in a man up situation. That was the first of Warwick’s four goals in the game with the man advantage.
"(Catholic) didn’t play a very controlled game," Schmehl said, "so we took advantage when we had our man up situations."
For the game, Warwick outshot the Crusaders 36-20, and when senior Marc Wiczkowski scored just one minute later, the Warriors had a commanding 4-0 halftime lead.
"(Marc) is a hockey player and he kinda scooped it in like a slap shot," Schmehl said. "He’s one of our defensive midfielders, he doesn’t score a lot of goals, so it was a big contribution. Everybody got pretty fired up when he got the goal."
The Warwick boys then pulled away in the fourth with three man-up goals. Hohman scored from junior Austin Minnich at the 7:37 mark, then junior Shaun McCormick dented the twine just over a minute later from Hohman, and sophomore Alex Bushong completed the scoring at the 1:41 mark of the third quarter.
Minnich gave the offense a boost while playing in his third game since missing a couple of weeks due to a concussion.
"He’s definitely a catalyst of our offense," Schmehl said. "We like to move the ball through him and even when he drives to the goal, he opens a lot of space for other guys when he makes passes to them. He’s kinda one of our main guys in taking it to the goal."
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors played a possession game and kept the Crusaders’ looks at their goal to a minimum to seal the deal. Senior keeper Jake Watson finished with 11 stops between the pipes.
"They only had about two or three guys that we really had to worry about a little bit," Schmehl said. "Our defense played really, really strong for Senior Night and we have four seniors on defense — Jake, Tanner Biemsderfer, Charlie Lovette and (long stick midfielder) Danny Gordon — so I think that gave them a little extra motivation." More LACROSSE, page B-3