Whatever happened to …Kristin Harris
In the fall of 2000, senior Kristin (Harris) Peifer and her teammates on the Warwick field hockey team entered the season with high expectations.
They reached them in extraordinary fashion.
In a magical run, the Lady Warriors set program records for most wins in a season (28), most shutouts in a season (22), most goals scored in a season (87) and most consecutive wins (32).
En route to a perfect 28-0-0 campaign, it all ended, well … perfectly for the Warwick girls. With a 1-0 win over Central Bucks East on a crisp, November afternoon at Messiah College, they repeated as the PIAA State Triple-A champions.
“That was a great feeling to end your career like that and to repeat, especially with the teammates I had that senior year &tstr; we were a close-knit bunch and that felt pretty great,” said Kristin, who married former Warwick High School (2000) baseball star Jamie Peifer.
These days, life is still golden for Peifer. A seventh-grade biology teacher at Landisville Middle School in the Hempfield School District, Kristin and Jamie live in Lititz with their 4-year-old daughter Stella. Their second child is expected Dec. 25.
“Our Christmas season is going to be a little different this year,” Peifer smiled.
Her career path has been a little different than she imagined while earning her degree in biology and completing a standout field hockey career at the University of Maryland. Peifer’s intentions were to pursue a career in the health field, perhaps in physical therapy or nursing. She, in fact, worked at Lancaster General Hospital for a brief time while serving as an assistant coach under Lori O’Donnell with the Hempfield field hockey team.
But Peifer found herself considering teaching.
“Something was missing for me a little bit,” she said. “I think I missed that academic realm. So Lori was an encourager of me going back and getting my teaching degree and I couldn’t be happier. I love teaching.”
There wasn’t anything missing from Warwick’s State championship teams in 1999 and 2000. In addition to a high-powered offense, the Bob Derr-coached Lady Warriors displayed an air-tight defense, as keeper JoAnn Martin and Co. allowed a mere seven goals all season long.
Peifer, who also starred as a four-year soccer player at Warwick, made her presence felt at both ends of the field. She scored the game-winning goal in five of Warwick’s 28 games, including a 2-0 win over Mid-Penn power Hershey in the District Three Triple-A semi-finals.
“I vaguely recall that,” Peifer laughed. “I was not a big scorer in my career. Maybe I should remember those goals a little better, the lone ones that I had.”
After knocking off Lower Dauphin for the District crown on a goal by leading scorer Chelsea Mearig, the Lady Warriors rolled on with a 3-1 win against Spring Grove in their State opener, then got the upper hand one more time against Hershey, 1-0, on a goal by Eckert in the PIAA quarter-finals.
Those days marked the height of Warwick’s rivalry with the Lady Trojans.
“Any time we played Hershey, that was a pretty grueling, physical match, so I’m sure it was the same for that game,” said Peifer, a two-time First-Team All-State selection, two-time Regional All-American and a First-Team All-American prior to graduating from Warwick in 2001. “As far as the physical nature of the game and the passion, I would say, they were definitely a tough match for us. I remember early on in my career, Hempfield was definitely a tough match for us as well.”
In the Final Four, Kelly Wood’s goal was the difference in a 1-0 conquest of Downingtown.
Overall, Warwick defense allowed just one goal into the back of the cage in 10 playoff games.
“Those are probably more of the accomplishments that I remember,” said Peifer, a midfielder. “I was always a little bit more defensive-minded, I think. Not that I pride myself more on that, but that was definitely something I clung to a little bit more than some of the goals and those types of things.”
The win over Downingtown set the stage for the State championship-clinching 1-0 shutout of Central Bucks East and the Lady Warriors’ victory lap through the square in Lititz.
“Especially in the senior year, that was pretty great,” Peifer said.
While memories of the records and specific games have faded a bit over time for Peifer, the friendships that she formed certainly have not.
“The experiences and the interactions with your teammates and the excitement and all of those emotions that go with it you definitely still remember,” Peifer said. “It does sound nice to be reminded of some of the things that you accomplished in high school, for sure.”
The excitement continued for Peifer in her career at Maryland, where she helped the Lady Terrapins advance to the NCAA Division-One championship game in 2001, suffering a 2-0 loss to Michigan. The Lady Terrapins won the title in 1999, just before Peifer’s arrival in College Park, and 2005, one season after she graduated.
“The four years I was there, we came close,” she said. “My freshman year, we were in the final, but we could never quite clinch that title.”
It was a different story at Warwick, though.
“They were some great years,” Peifer said. “I was really fortunate with growing up in this area and being able to play multiple sports all the way through high school and have a really, really great experience with coaches and teammates. I definitely still look back on those memories with fondness.”