Historic season ends just shy of States

By on November 9, 2016
Warwick senior Jayna Class (right) powers the ball past the Black Knights’ Julia Givens in the District Three semi-finals at Wilson High School last Thursday. Photo by Mike Shull

Warwick senior Jayna Class (right) powers the ball past the Black Knights’ Julia Givens in the District Three semi-finals at Wilson High School last Thursday. Photo by Mike Shull

The word that Brad Glouner used most last Thursday was “finish.”

Warwick’s girls volleyball coach had just watched Hempfield rally from a 2-0 deficit against his team to pull out a 3-2 victory (21-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-13) in the District Three 4A semi-finals at Wilson High School in West Lawn.

And ultimately, seven service errors in the last three games, coupled with other miscues, hampered Warwick from … finishing off the Lady Knights.

“Just lack of focus. (Hempfield) wanted it a little more,” Glouner said. “They made a couple plays in critical times in (games) three, four and five. It’s easy to be a sideline quarterback coach, but there’s just some things we needed to do. The little things win games like that.”

It was the first time in four meetings this fall that the Lady Warriors lost to Hempfield, who knocked off their long-time rivals 3-1 on three earlier occasions en route to winning their first-ever Section One and Lancaster-Lebanon League crowns.

“I told them, ‘It’s not a great feeling, but guess what? Saturday now is even more important. It’s win or go home now,’ and that was our goal to go to States,” Glouner said. “We preferred to get our ticket tonight, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Unfortunately for the Warwick girls, with a trip to the PIAA Tournament at stake, they suffered a 3-0 loss (25-23, 25-14, 25-23) to Exeter Township on Saturday at Dallastown, ending their season. While the Lady Eagles claimed the final State berth in District Three 4A, Warwick was eliminated with a final record of 21-3.

Outside hitter Rylee Derr, when asked if the team just ran out of gas at the end, said, “Yeah, that’s what a lot of people have said that we just were tired. We definitely looked like we were tired, I think a lot of people felt very tired. We weren’t as pumped up as we should have been.”

Nonetheless, the Warwick girls’ 2016 season will be remembered for a lot of historic moments.

“This season has been great. We accomplished so many things we’ve never accomplished before,” said Derr, one of four seniors on the team with Jensen Burnheimer, Jayna Class and Brooke Sommers. “It feels great being a part of (the history), especially for us four seniors. That’s all we really wanted to do. Definitely, we fell short. We didn’t really want our season to end that quick. We knew we could have (qualified for States), but we’re just happy with what we accomplished this season.”

In game one against Exeter, the Lady Eagles — led by Emily Hangen’s match-high 13 kills — snapped a 17-17 tie with four straight points. Warwick got within one, 21-20, but Exeter was able to hold on.

It wasn’t as close in the second game, though. The Exeter girls jumped out to a lead of 19-11 and eventually sealed the double-digit, 25-14 victory, grabbing the driver’s seat, 2-0.

With their backs to the wall in the third, the Lady Warriors got a quick start, leading 3-1 early. Class paced Warwick with seven kills in the match, set up by Burnheimer’s 19 assists.

Later, the red and black still held a 21-20 edge. Exeter, though, answered with a 5-2 run to end it.

“We were feeling pretty good (up 21-20), but then a lot of mistakes happened,” Derr said, “and a lot of it was just in our heads. We knew we could do it. After the second game, we thought we could to go to five, just win the next three, hopefully, but sadly that didn’t turn out in our favor.”

Defensively, Hailey Miller and Maddy Glouner had 12 digs and four blocks to pace Warwick.

Turning back to the semi-final match, Warwick trailed 14-11 in the first game before Jackie Barilar’s tip started them on a 6-1 run which gave them a lead they never relinquished.

Eventually, Class’ kill and Burnheimer’s ace in the corner clinched the 25-21 decision.

Miller and Sommers had two aces apiece for the match, while Derr led with 14 kills. Burnheimer handed out 43 assists.

In game two, Derr’s kill put Warwick up 12-9, but then a a 5-0 run by Hempfield, capped by Natalie Virts’ ace, made put the Lady Knights up 14-14-12.

It didn’t last, though, Glouner’s kill gave Warwick an 18-14 lead, and then later, the junior middle blocker served an ace to make it 24-19, as the Lady Warriors held on for the 25-22 decision.

Next, after the Hempfield girls took leads of 8-3 and 16-9 in the third — Lindsey Heisey had a match-high 17 kills while Ally Bish chipped in with four blocks and 38 digs — the Lady Warriors found themselves fighting an uphill battle.

They got to 23-21, but no closer, as Hempfield got in the win column with a 25-21 victory.

“We warned the girls that when (Hempfield) gets some momentum, they’re a very dangerous team,” Glouner said. “They ran with it. They’ve done that before. They’ve been behind and have come back in some matches, so it was unfortunate.”

Things continued to snowball against Warwick in the fourth, With the score tied 19-all, Glouner’s kill put the Lady Warriors within five points of the District finals. Instead, Heisey scored a pair of kills in a 5-1 burst by Hempfield, helping them pull even, two games apiece.

Still, Warwick had its chances in the fifth game. Burnheimer’s tip and Glouner’s ace made it 8-7. Later, they were tied at 10-all and 11-all.

Heisey’s kill gave the Lady Knights a 14-12 lead, Derr answered with one of her own, but a Warwick error closed out Hempfield’s clinching 15-13 win.

“You’ve got to finish,” Glouner said. “I keep harping on it that it’s the little things. But I’ve got to give Hempfield all the credit for fighting. I mean, like I said, they could have easily given up.”

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