WHS girls should stand proud

By on November 22, 2011

Bruce Morgan

Record Express

Sports Editor Let’s take a trip back in time.

Back to Oct. 24, 1990, to be exact.

Warwick’s field hockey team had recently won the Lancaster-Lebanon League crown and was the favorite against Carlisle in a District Three Triple-A first-round game at Conestoga Valley High School.

They were the better team on the field and had chance after chance to pull out the win. Through regulation and two 11-on-11 overtime periods, the Lady Warriors had 44 penalty corners and 28 shots on goal, to Carlisle’s three corners and three shots.

Yet, somehow, the game managed to remain scoreless until the Thundering Herd stole a 1-0 upset victory in best of-five 1-on-1 play.

To me, there were striking similarities to Warwick’s heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Hempfield in the PIAA State Triple-A finals in Whitehall.

The Lady Warriors, just as they were in ’90, were the freshly-minted L-L champs. Both teams had a strong core of players consisting of future Division-I players. And goals were at a premium in both games.

Last Saturday, as Warwick generated one penalty corner after another — on its way to a grand total of 32 — you kept thinking, ‘OK, this is the one where they score.’ Coincidentally, those 32 corners they had against the Lady Knights last Saturday? That is the most they’ve had in a single game this season, and it’s their second-highest single-game total in program history. The only one that beats it, of course, was their loss to Carlisle in 1990. Both of Warwick coach Bob Derr’s daughters played in that game — Danielle and Bree, in their senior and sophomore seasons, respectively.

But as coach Derr reminded reporters again last Saturday, that can be the nature of field hockey to dominate a game and yet still lose. You see it in soccer sometimes as well, where you run into a goalkeeper who is on top of his/her game and that’s the difference.

Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, however, Warwick’s players and coaches have every reason to hold their heads high. Of all the high school teams that play field hockey throughout Pennsylvania, they were one of only four who woke up on Saturday morning with a game left to play.

And Warwick had the distinction of being part of history. The Lancaster-Lebanon League is a hotbed for college recruitors all over the country, and the Lady Warriors were involved in the first-ever PIAA field hockey championship game featuring two teams from the L-L.

Hempfield coach Julianne Bojanic summed it up nicely when she said, "There’s so much pride that goes with being able to be part of that game. And it just shows how strong our teams really are. It says good thngs for our league."

It says good things for Warwick that it beat Penn Manor this season for the first time since 2007. After three years of missing the PIAA State playoffs, they returned to the State semi-finals for the first time since 2006 and the State championship game for the first time since 2000. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially given the tremendous level of talent which District Three exhibited this season.

They outscored their opponents 104-27 in 28 games this fall, with 11 shutouts. Take away the first half in the District Three Triple-A playoff semi-finals against Penn Manor and the first 10 minutes or so in the District third-place game against Hempfield, and Warwick was a tough team to beat this post-season.

On Saturday, playing a Hempfield team that had double digits in corners and shots while upsetting an Emmaus squad with a 52-game unbeaten streak, Warwick limited the Lady Knights’ scoring opportunities and controlled the midfield. They didn’t finish inside the circle like they had hoped, but that’s the nature of this sport sometimes.

Win or lose on Saturday, they were one of just two Triple-A teams playing and they added to the rich history and tradition of Warwick field hockey.

Thanks for the memories. More MORGAN, page B-3