Settling for a moral victory was the last thing the Warren County High School soccer team wanted as an outcome of its trip to Cookeville.
With the memory of a 6-0 loss to the Cavaliers still fresh, the Pioneers had their sights set on flipping the script. Instead, Cookeville defended its home turf with a 1-0 win, the only goal coming on a penalty kick in the first half.
“We played a great game. Neither team really had many chances,” said Warren County coach Matt Jackson. “I wish we could’ve gotten a goal as well, obviously. It was tough. You never want to see it end on a call.”
The ball rarely left the midfield for most of the first half. Both teams struggled to mount attacks, leaving the battle for possession to stay near the center of the field.
Opportunity struck for the Cavaliers in the late stages of the first half. Heitor Alves made a break into the zone, with Pioneer defenders looking to swarm the ball. A foul was called in the box, giving Alves a penalty shot.
Josiah Jackson made a valiant effort on the PK, but Alves’ shot was out of reach and Cookeville took a 1-0 lead.
It held the rest of the way.
Warren County mounted two late pushes in the second half, but was halted each time before getting a clean shot on net. Cookeville was able to hold on for the victory, one that all but assured the Cavaliers of a district title.
Coach Jackson thinks the improvement from the first matchup to the second speaks volumes and hopes maybe a third time would be a charm.
“I hope we can see them again. It wouldn’t be until the district final, so hopefully we can be there with them,” said Jackson.
The Pioneers will get a chance at a District 6AAA victory Tuesday when the team travels to Rhea County. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.