Dynamic duo

By on November 13, 2013

Talking Sports

By

Bruce Morgan

It was during the first half of Warwick’s State quarterfinal field hockey playoff game against Emmaus last Saturday that I was comparing notes with a reporter from the Allentown Morning Call.

He was talking about a player on the Green Hornets’ roster, Meredith Sholder – a name that I had known before pulling into the parking lot at Exeter Township High School’s Don Thomas Stadium. Based on some research that my colleague Ephrata Review sports editor Todd Ruth had helped me with, I was aware that Sholder, Ashley Moxey and Krissy Mikelson had combined for 96 goals in the Green Hornets’ 24-0 start.

Surely, Sholder was heading somewhere to play in college. With 46 goals to her credit, that must have caught the attention of numerous coaches at the next level.

So I asked the Allentown Morning Call writer, ‘Where is she headed?’

His response was, ‘She’s only a freshman.’

Oh.

The conversation eventually turned to Warwick’s team, with the Allentown reporter asking me who some of the Lady Warriors’ top players were. When I informed him that Warwick had only two starting seniors, it was his turn to be surprised, replying, ‘They have only TWO seniors?’

That reply would probably be the same for anyone who isn’t familiar with the make-up of Warwick’s roster this fall. Here the Lady Warriors were in the Great Eight of the PIAA State Field Hockey Tournament, the best of the best, giving a senior-laden Green Hornet squad all it could handle. With just two starting seniors.

With a large group of juniors on this year’s team, 11 to be exact, it might have been easier to predict a State playoff run for this team in 2014. That’s when those players would have the most experience, the most time under their belt to have polished their skills, the maturity to compete with the heavyweights.

But there were two big reasons that Warwick found itself in the State’s final eight. In alphabetical order – Courtney Weaver and Liz Wenger. Interesting that both of their last names start with the letter ‘W’ because they contributed mightily to a lot of ‘W"s for Warwick this year.

Courtney, a Millersville University recruit, was a center back for the Warwick girls, the anchor of a group of position players that often go unnoticed. Sort of like a lineman in football. The goal-scorers are usually the ones that get headlines, and unless they make a defensive save, the backs don’t see their names in a box score. But if you watched Courtney play and saw the poise that she showed with the ball, the smart decisions that she made, etc., you knew what she meant to the Lady Warriors.

In many interviews over the course of the post-season, Warwick coach Bob Derr couldn’t say enough good things about Weaver to Lancaster writer Pete Kauffman and myself.

Ditto for Liz.

If I’m correct, the quarterback in Warwick’s system is the center mid. Liz, a soccer recruit at Georgetown University, was the Lady Warriors’ center mid this season. With good reason. She was everywhere, getting the ball to the forwards, taking the ball into the circle herself, leading counter-attacks, stymying those of Warwick’s opponents and on and on. When the playoffs started, it should be noted that Liz stepped up and scored goals in both of Warwick’s first two L-L wins. She finished the post-season with four goals and four assists in nine games.

This is not to take anything from the rest of Warwick’s team, including senior keeper Gaby Spatz. It’s a team sport, after all, and they accomplished a lot as a team this year. They obviously have a bright future, and with the number of returning players they will have in 2014, not to mention the talent pool it includes, the Warwick girls will certainly have high hopes next year.

But the losses of Courtney and Liz, and the leadership they provided, shouldn’t be undervalued. It’s two of 11 starters, but they will leave big shoes to fill for a team hoping to get back to States next year.

Nor should the strength of Warwick’s schedule this fall be undervalued in the success that they enjoyed. Warwick’s seven total losses this season have come against four teams – Double-A sensation Crestwood and Triple-A powers Penn Manor, Lower Dauphin and Emmaus. All four advanced to the PIAA State semi-finals and had a combined record of 94-4-1 as of deadline.

*****

Congratulations to seven members of Warwick’s field hockey team who received All-Star accolades at the League banquet on Monday night.

Courtney Weaver, Liz Wenger and junior Marleise Emrhein were named Section One First-Team, while Weaver and Wenger also earned L-L All-League and L-L Academic Achievement honors.

Juniors Noelle Kephart, Jamie Martin and Jaycie St. John all took home Section One Second-Team recognition, while junior Casie Stief was named Honorable Mention.

More DYNAMIC DUO, page B-5

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