Warwick blanks Penn Manor, 2-0 WHS tops Comets for 1st time since ’07
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
For Warwick’s seniors, it all came down to Monday night.
"Since we’ve been in high school, we haven’t beaten Penn Manor," senior forward Emma Rissinger said, "so that was motivation knowing this was our last chance in the regular season to beat them."
The Lady Warriors also had the motivation of knowing that the first-place Comets were a big hurdle in their path toward going 6-0-0 in the second half of Section One play.
With second-half goals from Rissinger and sophomore Liz Wenger, the Warwick girls did indeed move within one victory of a perfect second half, beating Penn Manor 2-0 in a physical, playoff-type atmosphere in Millersville.
Oh yeah, it also marked the first time since 2007 that Warwick had defeated the Comets, when they won 2-1.
"We’ve been looking forward to this since the last time we played them (a 3-2 Penn Manor win)," Rissinger said, "because the first time we knew it was a winnable game and we’ve only gotten better since then."
Asked how big of a mental hurdle it was to beat Penn Manor, Warwick coach Bob Derr said, "It’s huge, just like the first time they beat us, it was huge for them to get over that hurdle. For four years, we’ve been struggling — even playoff-wise. This team has not been past the first round of Districts."
The District playoffs, though, are still down the road. Warwick’s attention following its emotional win over the Comets was on Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Conestoga Valley. Although the Lady Warriors clinched an L-L playoff berth with their win over Penn Manor, they will be looking to avoid a letdown against the Bucks. Plus, Warwick could still gain a share of the Section title with a win over CV and a Hempfield victory over Penn Manor.
"Our goal this second half was to be 6-0," Derr said. "We were 4-2 the first round and we just wanted to be 6-0. Right now, we’re just taking one game at a time and we can’t overlook Conestoga Valley, who is a tough team and we’ve got to play them on their grass. Of course, this high here is going to have an effect. I’ve got to get them calmed down so that they stay focused on the goal at hand."
They certainly came out focused against the Comets, and although both teams had scoring chances in the first half, it remained scoreless at the break.
Both teams had just two shots in the first half, but PM had a 5-2 edge in corners — and a 10-2 advantage for the game.
"Both teams played extremely well — that was definitely a playoff atmosphere and situation," Derr said. "We’ve still got to find a way to keep them from getting so darn many corners, but we were able to eliminate a lot of shots. But I’ve got to give credit to the entire team. We had a game plan coming in and they executed it. The key part of that game plan was just simply being patient on defense."
Although neither team was able to get away a lot of shots — PM held a 5-4 edge for the game — the Lady Warriors made effective use of the opportunities they got in the second half, scoring on both of their shots.
With 17:03 elapsed after the break, freshman Marleise Emrhein got the ball in front to Rissinger, who made no mistake while giving the Lady Warriors a 1-0 lead.
"Marleise took it down to the end line and then she crossed it right to the center — it was a perfect cross and I just swept it in," Rissinger said. "It was the best feeling just getting a lead and knowing we could play off of that and keep coming at them."
That lead might have seemed at risk when Bethany Han received a yellow card with 10:36, forcing her from the field for five minutes. But the Warwick girls stepped up in the shorthanded situation. Although the Comets had three corners in that stretch, WHS senior keeper Alexis Charles and the defense were equal to the task. Charles stopped all five shots she faced for the shutout.
"Alexis had a great game with the great shots that they took against us," Derr said.
On the fourth of Penn Manor’s five second-half corners, Erin McCoy sent a nice cross across the goal mouth, but the ball hit the foot of a Penn Manor player and Warwick took the ball the other way. Moments later, Wenger, after taking a long pass from Emily Harting, beat Comet keeper Karla Mylin from a tough angle to push the Lady Warriors’ lead to 2-0 with 5:27 remaining.
"The two goals we scored were counter-attack goals," Derr said, "where we intercepted the ball and brought it down fast and got a good shot on the goal. Liz’s, I don’t know how the ball got in there from that bad angle."
The Lady Warriors were more than happy to take it, however. And they were plenty happy to finally knock off Penn Manor.
"I’m just really pleased as a team that they stayed so much together connecting on their passes and just playing disciplined good field hockey," Derr said. "If they do that, they’re going to do well. But I think it’s going to be even tougher if we meet again because they are good. They are good."
Last Thursday, Kiersten Cepeda scored four goals, while Rissinger and Alyssa Manley each chipped in with a goal and three assists, as the Warwick girls handed E-town an 8-0 whitewashing in Lititz.
Marissa Lutz and Jamie Martin also connected, as Warwick took a 4-0 halftime lead and never looked back. Han also helped out with two assists and Charles stopped all three shots she faced. More LADY WARRIORS, page B-8