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District championship denied
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The chase for the District 6-AAA regular season championship came down to one game. The Warren County High School boys soccer team found itself facing a common opponent, as the Pioneers traveled to Cookeville Tuesday.
Both teams were aware the winner would clinch the regular season title and the coveted No. 1 seed in the district tournament. The Pioneers couldn’t capitalize on early scoring opportunities and Cookeville found its offense just in time to defend its home field with a 3-0 win.
Warren County (5-5-1) was hopeful it could win its first outright district championship since 2001. Standing in the way were the Cavaliers, last year’s district champions.
The Pioneers started out as the aggressor, as Warren County had four great scoring opportunities to begin the game. Alex Serna, the team’s top scorer, had two shots in the first few minutes, but his shots were stopped.
Seniors Michael Gallagher and Adam Fann also had chances, but Cookeville withstood the Pioneer charge. Gallagher had a header stopped from 10 yards out, while Fann tried a chip shot over two defenders that couldn’t find the net.
After the Cavaliers weathered the storm, they put the first goal on the board off a free kick. Warren County didn’t mark all of the Cookeville players, leaving one open on the backside of the action and his shot beat Warren County keeper Chad Womack.
The Pioneers came back with more chances to score, but each time were turned away. Cookeville put the pressure on Warren County when the Cavs executed a corner kick.
The Pioneers were unable to clear the ball in front of the net, leaving the Cavaliers a short shot for a 2-0 lead.
Coach Todd Willmore’s team tried to rally back in the second half, but Cookeville made sure it would repeat as district champions with a late goal.
Womack was faced with a one-on-one when a Cavalier player broke open behind the Pioneer defense. Womack was unable to make the save and the Cavaliers took a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Pioneers couldn’t break into the scoring column late, which further frustrated the team which has had trouble scoring in big games.
The loss means Warren County finds itself in a tie for second place with Coffee County. The two teams tied in their only meeting this season, a 2-2 game at Warren County High School.
Depending on tiebreakers, the Pioneers are hopeful they will play host to the first round game against Coffee County in the District 6-AAA tournament. The locations won’t be determined until the start of the tournament, which begins the week of May 9.
The Pioneers will finish their season with two road games next week. Warren County travels to Webb next Tuesday for a match which begins at 5:30 p.m. The Pioneers conclude the regular season with an away game against Tullahoma next Thursday at 7 p.m.