E-town stuns Warwick with comeback in L-L semi-finals

By on October 22, 2014
Warwick sophomore Janya Class (25) puts the ball away against Solanco in L-L playoff action at Elizabethtown. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Warwick sophomore Janya Class (25) puts the ball away against Solanco in L-L playoff action at Elizabethtown. (Photo by Mike Shull)

A first-ever trip to the L-L League championship match was literally at the Warwick girls’ fingertips.
Leading Section Two champion Elizabethtown in games 2-1 on Monday night, they had a six-point lead, 22-16, late in the fourth.
Twice, the Section One runner-up Lady Warriors were at match point, 24-23 and 25-24.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
The Lady Bears dug deep and pulled out a 27-25 victory to send the match to a decisive fifth game, where they rode an avalanche of momentum to a clinching 15-5 win, sending them to the finals with a 3-2 conquest at Manheim Township High School.
While E-town faced defending champ Hempfield last night (Wednesday) for the L-L crown, Warwick began preparations for its District Three Triple-A opener. The No. 9-seeded Lady Warriors face 8th-ranked Chambersburg at Garden Spot this Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
They will no doubt be ready to put Monday’s heartbreaking outcome behind them.
“I don’t know what to say right now,” Warwick coach Brad Glouner said. “We had two chances to put the game away and couldn’t do it. You’ve got to finish. We’ve talked about that all season. It hurt us during the Garden Spot match (in a 3-2 late-season loss), same type of thing. And then we came out and played scared in that fifth game.”
Back-to-back swings from Jordan Brown, who led E-town with 14 kills, capped a 7-1 run by the Lady Bears, who tied it 23-all in the fourth game.
“She’s their best offensive player, for sure,” Glouner said. “When they need a sideout, they go to her. It wasn’t stopping her more than at the end of that fourth set, we just needed to finish. We needed to put balls away somehow.”
Gia Gruett’s kill, one of her match-high 20, put the Warwick girls up 25-24, but then E-town’s Amber DeShong, Lauren Ober and Hanna Quarry scored three straight and the E-town faithful erupted.
“I give (E-town) a lot of credit,” Glouner said. “They could have folded when we were up six there toward the end of that fourth game, they really could have and they didn’t, so hats off to them. But as a coach, when you’re up six and have a chance to finish the match, you just have to.”
In game five, the Lady Bears grabbed quick command by scoring the first seven points, several of those on Warwick errors. The Warwick girls were unable to score successive points in that game, and a kill by Rylee Derr, which cut E-town’s lead to 14-5, was their last hope. Quarry’s swing ended it and left the Lady Warriors stunned.
“I think the momentum was just so much on (E-town’s) side,” Glouner said. “We were playing not to lose rather than trying to win that fifth game. They were worried about making mistakes.”
Gruett chipped in with a team-high 21 digs, while Alexa Mohler handed out 47 assists. Jayna Class and Kristin Sellers helped out the defense with one block apiece, and Derr finished with two aces.
Derr had one of those aces in game two, but it wasn’t enough, as E-town countered a 25-15 game-one win from Warwick by bolting to a 20-10 edge in game two and holding on for a 25-16 decision.
Back-to-back kills by Derr started the WHS girls on a 5-0 run to open game three and then they eventually stretched it to 18-9 on an E-town error and finished off a 25-16 decision.
That, of course, set the table for the game four madness and a stunning turn of events for Warwick. DeShong and Kayla Beach shared match-high honors with 24 digs apiece for E-town.
“Obviously, they made a couple plays that if they don’t make, we win that match,” Glouner said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s a tough one, it would have been a first in years that we’ve made the league finals. That was our goal &tstr; make it to the finals and whatever happens in the finals happens there. I give E-town a ton of credit. They really, really wanted it. We had our chances and just couldn’t do it.”
Last Friday night, Gruett had a big night for the Warwick girls, stepping up with team-highs in kills (14), blocks (1) and digs (8), leading the team in a 3-0 whitewashing of Solanco (25-17, 25-15, 25-12) in the L-L League playoff quarter-finals at E-town.
Class had the Mares on their heels with five aces, while Natalie Weaver and Derr helped out with one block apiece. Mohler handed out a match-high 34 assists.

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