Watson’s return a happy one, as Warriors hold off Shamrocks WHS boys then fall one goal short against PM, 5-4

By on March 28, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

After missing the 2011 season with an ACL injury, senior Jake Watson was back in his home away from home last Saturday.

That is, between the pipes for the Warwick boys lacrosse team.

And much to the chagrin of Trinity, it was like he never left.

Already back to the form he showed while earning All-Star honors as a sophomore, Watson saved 18 of the 22 shots he faced and backstopped the Warriors to a 6-4 victory over the Shamrocks in their non-league opener at Grosh Field in Lititz.

"Last year we really missed him back there, but now he’s back at 100 percent," Warwick coach Chris Schmehl remarked. "I was very impressed. He’s had a little bit of live action in the off-season, but for his first live competition after being off all year, he was back to his old self and making the saves that we know he can make."

Watson certainly got plenty of support from his teammates in front of him as well, as junior Austin Minnich had three goals and an assist and junior Nick Hohman added two goals and a helper to lead the offense. Senior J.A. Howland also found the back of the net for the Warriors.

"(Austin and Nick) are both juniors and they’ve both been playing together for a long time, so I think they’re getting into a good groove, getting used to playing with each other," Schmehl said. "I think they’re going to continue to do good things for us playing together for awhile."

Hohman did a lot of good things early on, scoring the first two goals of the game, and then Minnich beat Trinity keeper Karl Dickey to make it 3-0 against a Shamrocks team which had defeated Lewisburg 16-4 just one day earlier.

Mark Hergenroeder, one of three freshmen playing for Trinity, finally found the range with only :1.9 left in the first quarter to cut the Warriors’ lead to 3-1 after one.

But Minnich’s tally with 7:48 left in the half restored Warwick’s three-goal cushion, and they appeared to score again with 2:42 to go. The goal, though, was disallowed due to a WHS player being in the crease, and Trinity capitalized with Jack Miller scoring the first of his two goals less than two minutes later to keep the Shamrocks close, 4-2, at the half.

Early in the third, the Warriors continued to dominate the time of possession and Minnich notched his third straight tally, from long range at the 25-yard line, and then Howland, a Susquehanna University recruit, converted with 10:27 left in the stanza, on an assist from Hohman, put the red and black up 6-2.

"J.A. is our only senior attackman, so he’s kind of the leader of our offense from a strategy standpoint," Schmehl said. "He knows the game really well, he’s been playing for a long time. So he’s a good player and he’s just a real leader out on the field."

Watson, a Florida Tech recruit, is another proven leader for the Warriors, and it was his clutch save on a shot by Miller with 1:03 left in the period kept it 6-2 going to the fourth.

Midway through the fourth, with the Shamrocks down two players on penalties, Hohman and Mason Buccilla were robbed by Dickey. Then the Shamrocks, even without Patrick Dill who had scored 100 goals in the previous two seasons, proved to still have some firepower, and Miller’s second goal of the game into the lower right corner got his team back to 6-3 with 4:25 remaining.

Things got a little scarier for Warwick just over a minute later when Trinity sophomore Connor Bailey scored to make it 6-4 with 2:58 left in the game. Overall, Trinity outshot the Warriors 28-21 in the game.

But in the final two minutes, Watson stopped Julian Schulder-Elia and Wilson hit the left post in a bang-bang series of events, and then Warwick played a four corners offense over the final 20 seconds to seal it.

"It got a little hectic at the end," Schmehl said, "but we maintained our composure, and we know we can always count on Jake to make big saves back there when we need him."

On Tuesday, in a hard-fought back-and-forth battle against Penn Manor, the Warriors came up just short, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Comets in Millersville.

Penn Manor broke a 1-1 tie after one with the only two goals of the second quarter to go in front 3-1 at the half. Warwick made it a one-goal game after three, 4-3, but the Comets were able to hold on for the win. Howland led the Warriors with two goals, while Hohman and Alex Bushong each had one.

The Comets outshot the Warriors 25-20 and Watson finished with 11 saves. More LACROSSE, page B-5