Balanced attack leads WHS girls to two winsField Hockey

By on September 7, 2011

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Four years.

That’s how long it had been since the Warwick field hockey team started 2-0.

But for the first time since 2007, the Lady Warriors are undefeated through their first two games thanks to a 3-0 shutout of Oley Valley last Friday and a 3-1 conquest of Central Dauphin on Saturday, both in non-league games in Lititz.

"I’m really pleased in what they’ve done to this point," Warwick coach Bob Derr said. "It’s definitely refreshing. It’s been four or five years since we’ve been 2-0 after the first two games, so that’s exciting and puts things in a good perspective at this point in time. But we still can’t look too far ahead."

Mother Nature might have other ideas, but Section One contender Hempfield and perennial power Lower Dauphin are up next for the Warwick girls this week.

"With the weather, I have no idea when we’re going to play," Derr said. "It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to affect everybody."

When the Lady Warriors do return to playing games, however, they figure to have some momentum. Bethany Han and Emma Rissinger scored in both games, but it has been a balanced attack for the Lady Warriors, with three different girls scoring in each win. One other apparent goal against Central Dauphin was waved off because it went off the body of a Warwick player.

"The attack has been pretty balanced," Derr said, "which is good. It’s good to know that we’re not depending on one particular player."

On Saturday, Warwick built an 11-6 advantage in shots on a Central Dauphin team that advanced to the State quarterfinals last year and Marissa Lutz’s tally with 8:46 elapsed gave them the early lead. Nearly 10 minutes later, Han beat Rams’ goalkeeper Halle Frisco (8 saves), giving the Warwick girls a 2-0 lead for the second day in a row. In the penalty corners department, Warwick had a slight 8-6 edge.

"It’s good to get a good start and you’re up two goals, but at the same token, I’ve always said that a two-goal lead in a game is very dangerous because the tide can change so fast," Derr said. "One goal puts them one goal away from tying the game up. Three is the magic number. If you’re up by three and the other team gets a goal, you’re still up by two."

That certainly had to be in the back of Derr’s mind when CD’s Erin Dickey connected with just 5:05 gone in the second half, on an assist from Megan Wenrich.

But Rissinger, who added an assist in the game, restored Warwick’s two-goal advantage at the 12:04 mark and keeper Alexis Charles finished the game with four stops to help preserve the victory.

Charles also got early support in Warwick’s win over Oley Valley on Friday, as Han finished on a scoring opportunity with just 4:29 gone in the opening half.

The Lady Warriors, who outshot the Lynx 11-4, then protected that one-goal lead until Alyssa Manley’s tally with only 3:02 left in the half made it 2-0.

"The fact that we got the two goals in the first half, it gave us some good confidence and the girls were playing well," Derr said. "It gives them the confidence they need that they can beat strong teams."

It remained a two-goal game until Rissinger finally put the ball behind OV keeper Rachel Hartman for a key insurance tally with 8:30 remaining in the contest.

Warwick had a 14-9 edge in corners and Charles made four saves between the pipes to seal her first shutout of the season.

From here, however, the road won’t get any easier for the Warwick girls and Derr is hoping to avoid any letdowns.

"We’ve had two good practice sessions (since Saturday), so things are looking good," Derr said. "But there’s still a lot of little issues we need to address and we’re going to have to continue to keep our eyes on that and see some improvement. That’s what we saw (the last two days) — we got some improvement in the areas that we felt we were weak on." More LADY WARRIORS, page B-2

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