Quick start boosts Knights past Warwick in L-L semi-finals

By on May 9, 2018
Warwick’s Justin Minnich (27) navigates through the midfield while being chased by a pair of Hempfield defenders in Tuesday’s game. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Warwick’s Justin Minnich (27) navigates through the midfield while being chased by a pair of Hempfield defenders in Tuesday’s game. Photo by Missi Mortimer

For once, Warwick senior Luke Hirtzel would like to see his team play a full four quarters against Hempfield.

After all, when he and his Warrior teammates faced the Black Knights April 25, they jumped out to a fast start and led 8-6 at halftime and only trailed 12-11 after three quarters before fading in the fourth and losing 20-12.

Tuesday night in the Lancaster-Lebanon League boys’ lacrosse semifinals, the exact opposite happened. Warwick started slow and picked up steam later in the game.

This time Hempfield jumped out of the gate fast -—5-0 in the first six minutes of the game — and cruised to a 15-8 victory at Warwick High School.

Hempfield will meet Manheim Township, a 12-3 winner over Penn Manor in the other semifinal, Thursday in the L-L League championship at Lebanon Valley College.

“We still haven’t played a complete game against them,” Hirtzel said. “I think they came in well prepared. If we played them again I’d like to see us play a full four quarters and play our game — ball movement and possession. Our offense is based on possession.”

Early on, it was the Black Knights (15-3) who dominated the action, scoring 48 seconds into the contest on a goal by junior Cameron Asku, who added a second goal minutes later.

Asku assisted on Justin Warner’s goal with 8:57 left in the first quarter, and 50 seconds later Robert Griffith sent a blast into the net from 15 yards out. Two minutes later Matthew Heuston fired a shot into the left side of the net and the Black Knights led 5-0.

Timeout Warwick.

“We talked about slowing down and not rushing things,” Warwick coach Wayne Hummer said. “We can run with them, but we were rushing things and not playing our game.”

Right after the timeout, Warwick (12-5) scored twice. The Warriors slowed down, moved the ball and found the back of the net.

“Coach told us to slow down, play our game,” Hirtzel said, “and take good shots.”

After the timeout, Hirtzel took three good shots, scoring twice in a 20-second span to cut the Black Knights lead to 5-2 with 4:52 remaining in the first.

The senior, who finished the game with a hat trick, notched his first goal after taking a pass from freshman Carter Davis, who dodged defenders and dashed down the right side of the field before finding Hirtzel, who scored from about 10 yards out.

His second goal, on a power play, started with his shot from about 10 yards, deflecting off Hempfield goalie Anthony Tran, but Hirtzel pounced on the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net.

All of a sudden this was a ball game. The Warriors had momentum as they entered the second quarter.

Warwick goalie Josiah Jewell, who had 11 saves in the first half to keep his team in the game, had a big save with 7:02 remaining in the second.

Hempfield responded with four unanswered goals as Asku’s third goal of the first half gave the Black Knights a 9-2 lead.

Following a stretch of good passes, sophomore Conor Adams scored for Warwick off a beautiful pass from Corey Snyder, making it 9-3 at halftime.

After intermission, Warwick scored four of the next five goals on scores from Adams (twice), Davis and Hirtzel, cutting the Black Knights lead to 10-7 with 5:13 to go in the third quarter.

But Hempfield countered with four unanswered goals to take a 14-7 lead and essentially put the game away, controlling the possessions in the fourth quarter. Warwick junior Hilton Michael scored late to make it 15-8.

Every time Warwick cut into the lead, the Black Knights had an answer.

“This game can be a game of runs and we did a good job of keeping their runs in check and built on our lead,” Hempfield coach Matt McAlpine said. “Our fast start was a key. We shot OK. We had a few off the post a few times.”

“They capitalized more on their runs then we did,” Hummer said.

Warwick had a lot of positives in the game, like dominating faceoffs, winning 21 of 27 faceoffs, including the first 12 to start the second half.

Hummer liked the way his team played overall, noting the advantage on faceoffs and stretching out some long possessions that led to scores. He praised the play of Snyder, a tough kid who plays hard, Hummer said, and he noted that Hirtzel, Davis and Declan McCarthy, who came off the bench, all played well.

“All in all, we gave it a good run,” Hummer said about the loss in the league semis, as he now turns his attention to Monday and a first-round District Three tournament game Warwick will host. The Warriors hope to have a long run in the District and State playoffs.

“We have to let this loss go and move on,” Hirtzel said. “We need to focus. Mostly likely we are playing Red Lion, a team we beat already this year. We need to come with the mentality that we can’t lose. If we lose, our season is over.”

*****

Last Thursday, Warwick capitalized on a 4-1 fourth-quarter run to pull out a thrilling 5-4 win over Penn Manor in Lititz, securing third place in Section One with an 8-3 L-L record.

The Warriors trailed 3-1 going into the final stanza, but then came out with four unanswered goals to take the lead and held on for the one-goal victory.

Luke Hirtzel scored twice in the final 12 minutes, and Josh Swift and Conor Adams also found the back of the net. For Adams, that was his second of the game. Trey Glass, Corey Snyder and Justin Minnich had assists on the fourth-quarter goals, and goalie Josh Jewell stood tall between the pipes, finishing with eight stops.

Warwick and Penn Manor finished tied for third place, each with an 8-3 record, but the Warriors earned the No. 3 seed in the L-L playoffs on a tiebreaker.

*****

Last Tuesday, May 1, nine different players scored for Warwick in a 20-2 pummeling of Conestoga Valley.

Luke Hirtzel led the way with five goals, and Corey Snyder and Josh Swift each added three.

Also scoring for the WHS boys were Carter Davis, Trey Glass, and Conor Adams, each with two, while Hilton Michael, Austin Barto, and Declan McCarthy had one apiece.

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