Warwick routs Garden Spot to advance to L-L semis
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Warwick keeper Tanner Biemesderfer didn’t get a ton of work on Tuesday, but he stepped up with the play of the game for the Warriors.
With his team clinging to a 1-0 lead early in the game, Garden Spot’s Cody Shirk broke in alone with a golden opportunity to get the equalizer for the Spartans.
Biemesderfer, though, kept it out of the net, and then the WHS boys doubled their lead a short time later and went on to rout Garden Spot 6-0 in an L-L League quarterfinal playoff game at Penn Manor High School.
"I thought one of the key plays of the match was where we had a turnover and (GS) ended up with a breakaway and our goalie made a save," Warwick coach Dale Stoltzfus said. "It would have made it 1-1 … To me, that was the play of the game."
"That was huge," added senior Chris Sandkuhler, who scored two goals to help spark the Warriors’ offense. "If (Shirk) scores that, it’s a whole different ball game."
As it is, the Section One runner-up Warriors (13-3-3) will get another ball game tonight (Thursday) when they face Section Two champ Conestoga Valley, a 4-1 winner over Pequea Valley, in the L-L semi-finals at 7 p.m. at Manheim Central.
Outside of Shirk’s breakaway, the Warwick boys did a solid job of limiting the Spartans’ scoring chances while capitalizing on a pair of goals by Sandkuhler in the game’s first 9:18 to take control. Overall, the Warriors outshot GS 4-1 in the first half and 10-4 for the game.
"Tanner’s been doing a tremendous job of communicating," Stoltzfus said. "It’s a nice win for us against a team that had been playing very well."
Ryan Bertrando did a tremendous job on Warwick’s first goal, carrying the ball down the left side and into the box before sliding a pass to Sandkuhler, who finished with only 3:23 elapsed in the game. It was the first of two assists for Bertrando.
"Coach (Mike) Neuman has been telling us to get the ball wide all year," Sandkuhler said, "and we finally got the ball wide, beat the guy inside and (Ryan) crossed the ball and the far post was open and I put it away."
Following Biemesderfer’s big save, Bertrando and Matt Engle set up Sandkuhler for a 2-0 lead with 31:42 still left in the half.
"It could’ve been one of those ice hockey things where you give three assists almost," Stoltzfus smiled. "We gave two assists because of what happened — it was very nice play, a nice build-up. We’re making some tremendous runs through the box at speed now, offensively, and we’re starting to play some nice soccer here at the right time."
Early in the second half, GS brought a lot of intensity at Warwick and Jacob Dissinger unleashed a shot from close range. But with 7:35 elapsed in the half, Bertrando finished on a set-up from Armin Efendic to stretch their lead to a commanding 3-0.
"Once the third goal came, that was the one that swung the game," Stoltzfus said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s soccer, if it’s 3-0, or if it’s football, if it’s 21-0."
From there, Derek Adams scored top shelf with 21:27 left after Efendic settled the ball in the box, and then Jordan Loose scored on his own rebound from a penalty kick with 18:06 remaining. Just over three minutes later, Jonathan Wenger found a lane in the box and beat GS keeper Brady High and that was the game.
"When we got the two goals early, I think that definitely helped us," Sandkuhler said. "Once we got that, we stretched the field and got some more goals."
Last Thursday, Warwick and cross-town rival Manheim Township battled to a draw for the second time this season, finishing in a 1-1 tie on the Warriors’ Senior Night at Joseph Grosh Field in Lititz.
Only three weeks earlier, the WHS boys came back from a 3-1 deficit to pull even with the Blue Streaks 3-3.
Ryan Bertrando countered a goal by MT’s Kevin Popplewell by scoring in the 37th minute, sending the game to the half tied 1-1.
Warwick finished the game outshooting the Blue Streaks 14-8 and holding a 9-2 edge in corner kicks. But there was no further scoring in the second half and then in a pair of 10-minute OT sessions.
Tanner Biemesderfer finished with three saves in goal for the Warriors. More WHS SOCCER, page B-10