NEFFSVILLE — The old adage states that winning is not about how many opportunities you get, but making the most of those opportunities when they come.
So far this season, Manheim Township has demonstrated that to a tee.
Paris Benfer scored on the Blue Streaks’ only corner of the first half, Sophia Rockwell added a breakaway goal to open the second, and Manheim Township held on to defeat Section One rival Warwick, 2-1, Wednesday afternoon in Neffsville.
Township improves to 3-0, 1-0 for the season as they gear up for Friday’s away contest at always-potent Penn Manor, which was idle again on Wednesday and has yet to play a regular season game this season.
But for now, the Blue Streaks can bask in the spotlight of an early winning streak.
“It’s a great feeling to know we can pull out a win against a team like (Warwick) and that our work ethic really shows in the game,” said Township’s head coach Renee Suter. “I think we struggled with some of their girls that had some great stick skills and they kind find your feet pretty quickly. They’re probably the best team we’ve played thus far this season so they’re good at that.”
As a result, Warwick held a 6-1 advantage in penalty corner opportunities in the first half, but Benfer made Township’s lone opportunity stand-up.
“There were so many people in the circle but there was a moment when the goalie had her legs open and … I shoved (the ball) through,” Benfer said of the scramble in front of the cage. “I turned around her so if I could see if it was going in … and then I got attacked by my whole team, and it was just so great. I think we just really came up after that.”
Following a first half in which both teams struggled to control passes, each side played with renewed vigor in the second half.
On a 2-on-1 rush just 2:05 into the half, Township’s Asia Weaver sent a cross into center-circle to Sophia Rockwell, who fired passed Warwick’s Catie Brubaker (5 saves) to double the Blue Streaks’ lead.
But there was no letdown from the Warriors (1-2, 0-1), who continued to pile up corners and finishing with a 9-4 advantage in that category.
Warwick would eventually get on the board with 13:40 left to play on their eighth corner of the game.
Haley Miller inserted from the left corner to Katie Pyle, who pushed a shot toward the cage and Township goalie Kayla Zapcic (6 saves). But Adrienne McGarrigle collected the ball and sent a bouncer past Zapcic for the first goal Township has allowed all season, and more importantly bringing Warwick within one.
What is more, a subsequent rush nearly led to the game-tying score for the Warriors, but Maleah Hess’s shot was expertly blocked off by Zapcic to maintain the lead.
Township limited Warwick’s opportunities in the final 10 minutes to seal the victory and maintain their unblemished record heading into Friday’s showdown versus the Comets — Suter assuring that Penn Manor coach Matt Soto will have his team ready to go despite having yet to play this season.
“I think we’re all really preparing well,” offered Benfer in regard to the pending matchup. “I think we’re a lot better this year and a lot more focused and prepared, and we’ve really got our heads in the game.”
And they’re making the most of their opportunities, to boot.
Manheim Township 2, Warwick 1
WW _ 0 _ 1 _ — _ 1
MT _ 1 _ 1 _ — _ 2
FIRST HALF GOALS
MT Paris Benfer (UA – corner), 9:49
SECOND HALF GOALS
MT, Sophia Rockwell (Asia Weaver), 32:05
WW, Adrienne McGarrigle (Katie Pyle), 46:20
CORNERS-SHOTS — WW, 9-7. MT, 4-7.
SAVES — WW, Katie Brubaker 5. MT Kayla Zapcic 6