Warwick blanks Cocalico in L-L playoff quarterfinals
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Brittany Hasson didn’t get credit for it, but the Warwick senior was certain that her shot off the inside of the post in the first half found its way over the goal line.
"It was actually in, and I was mad, so I wanted to get another one," Hasson said.
With the Lady Warriors still locked in a scoreless tie with Cocalico in the second half of an L-L League playoff quarterfinal game, Hasson did indeed bury one that counted. Senior Tori Kramer also added a second-half tally and the Section Two runner-up Lady Warriors knocked off Section Three champ Cocalico 2-0 at Comet Field in Millersville.
"We asked them (at halftime) to make two adjustments," Warwick coach Mike Logan said. "We asked them to hold the midfield a little bit better and they did a really good job of that. And we said, ‘You’re really creating in the final third, but we haven’t taken an outside shot,’ and both goals were scored on outside shots. Two major adjustments turned the game around in the second half."
It was a second half in which Warwick (10-8-1) controlled the momentum and didn’t allow the Lady Eagles (14-2-1) a lot of quality scoring chances until junior forward Kathleen Lawver got a point-blank shot off on a breakaway with 7:03 left. But WHS keeper Jackie McMullen was equal to the task, diving to her right to make one of her four saves.
"The keeper made a great save and we finally put a decent shot on goal there and (McMullen) came up big for them," Cocalico coach Dan Hogan said. "That could’ve been a nice momentum swing because we didn’t have a whole lot of momentum in the second half."
Warwick outshot Cocalico 10-8 in the game, and their back four of Kayla Laughman, Liz Wenger, Luree Martin and Brooke Esbenshade did a solid job of keeping dangerous attackers Kathleen Lawver, Nicole Zwiercan and Brittany Simmons in check.
"They defend pretty well," Hogan said. "Their back four is very solid and they were very composed and it was tough for us to penetrate through them. We were able to get a lot of good early crosses in too, but they were there to clear it out quite a bit of the time."
Zwiercan was actually kept fairly busy in the opening 40 minutes inserting the ball for six Cocalico corner kicks, to Warwick’s one, but they got nothing to show for it.
Meanwhile, Cocalico junior keeper Kristen Boyer (6 saves) denied Hannah Bomberger on a couple of shots, and Hasson, of course, was turned away by the left post with 15:38 left in the half.
But Hasson would not be denied when she broke the scoreless tie with 30:03 to go in the second half, shooting from nearly 25 yards out over the outstretched arms of Boyer into the upper left corner to make it 1-0.
"The training Monday was (shooting) down and away because (Boyer) is tall," Logan said. "We were hitting crosses in, but we weren’t getting shots off (in the first half). So we did ask them to mix it up with a little outside shooting."
They got another outside shot from Kramer which found the back of the net from a tough angle with 13:50 left, again into the upper left corner. Hasson fed the ball and Kramer did the rest, doubling the Lady Warriors’ lead to 2-0.
"Brit just shot the ball across and I put it into the corner," Kramer said.
Although Cocalico held a 7-2 edge in corner kicks, the Lady Eagles managed just one in the second half as Warwick tightened things up in the midfield to limit their chances.
"In the second half when we held that midfield a little bit better, that allowed our defense to hold their line, stay connected and play in a zone a little bit better and then they didn’t give up the corners," Logan said.
While Warwick moves on to the L-L semis, Cocalico will now turn its attention toward the District Three Triple-A playoffs which get underway next week.
"I have a lot of girls that have been playing a lot of varsity and we don’t have as much playoff experience as some other teams, but we have a lot of girls with a lot of experience, so I feel they’ll do well," Hogan said.
The Lady Warriors fell a little short of qualifying for Districts, but they are hoping to make a little history with a deep run in the L-L League tournament.
In other action, the Warwick girls clinched Section Two’s final L-L League playoff berth on the final day of the regular season last Thursday, shutting out Ephrata 3-0 and taking advantage of Elizabethtown’s 4-2 loss to Conestoga Valley to jump into second place.
The Lady Warriors’ win improved their final record to 9-5-1 in league play.
The outcome against Ephrata was still up for grabs at the half, with Warwick leading just 1-0 on a goal by Kate Mobley in the 10th minute. But Brittany Hasson and Kelsey Martin scored 11 minutes apart in the second to clinch it for the Lady Warriors.
Kramer picked up a pair of assists in Warwick’s attack, as they easily outshot the Mounts by a margin of 13-3. They also held a commanding edge in corner kicks (14-0). McMullen recorded three saves for the shutout in goal. More L-L PLAYOFFS, page B-8