The Warren County High School soccer team traveled to Athens on Tuesday night for a region semifinal soccer match against McMinn County.
The Lady Pioneers suffered a tough 6-5 loss in double overtime to end their season with a 14-6 record.
It was the final high school game for WCHS soccer sensation Katie Toney, who finishes her Warren County career with 113 goals, a new school record.
Here’s a recap of the region semifinal loss to McMinn County in the words of WCHS head coach Todd Willmore:
Tough loss! The winning score came with 29 seconds to play in the second overtime when McMinn scored from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. Very questionable call. Our girls played with unbelievable heart, intensity, and effort for most of the night. It was an exciting match to be part of, but obviously the outcome was not what we had hoped for. The match was an ebb and flow of momentum with neither team being able to maintain that momentum for extended periods of time.
McMinn scored first about 7 minutes into the game, but our girls responded later with two goals in less than a minute. The first was the result of a pass from Jessica Chastain that found Katie Toney making a great run and ultimately splitting their defenders for a nice shot on goal.
Our second goal came after a series of passes, leaving the ball at Katie’s feet, which allowed her to play a great pass to Bekah Jackson for another great score. That score motivated our girls and we continued with high pressure for an extended period of time.
Approximately 10 minutes later, McMinn regained the momentum scoring their second goal and tying the match.
With 8 minutes to play in the half, Katie was her spectacular self, receiving the ball, beating several defenders, and finding a crease that allowed her to hit an absolute rocket diagonally across the keeper’s face into the side netting on the left side. The shot came from outside the 18-yard box on the right side. I am not sure the keeper ever saw the shot. McMinn regained the momentum early in the second half and tied the match again at 3-3.
The match remained tied for the next 23 minutes, with McMinn taking the lead with a little over 13 minutes left. We responded quickly when Katie made a hard run for a ball around the top of the 18-yard box. Their keeper came off her line for the challenge, but Katie beat her to the ball and they collided. The ball ricocheted to the right and Bekah tracked it down, got a good touch and hit it into the back of the net. Regulation ended with a 4-4 tie.
We proceeded to two 10-minute OT halves. They scored early in the first overtime. Approximately halfway through the second OT half, we adjusted our formation, pushing Bailey up as another forward to take some pressure off Katie. Katie won a ball near the midfield area, beat several defenders and found Bailey streaking down the left side. Bailey collected the ball and hit a shot to the opposite side of the goal. Awesome sequence for our team, knotting the score at 5-5.
Possession went back and forth over the next 4 minutes, with both teams having a few scoring opportunities. Their last opportunity saw them have the ball just outside the 18 on the right side. We appeared to defend them well and kept them from getting a shot. However, their player fell and we were issued a foul on the play. With the clock stopped at 29 seconds, they set up for a free kick just barely outside the 18. McMinn struck the ball low hoping to go under our wall.
Unfortunately, the ball deflected slightly off the foot of one of our defenders and slid just inside the post for the game-winning shot.
On the ensuing kickoff we pushed everyone up hoping to get at least a shot on goal, but turned the ball over and McMinn raced down for a shot 1 v 1 against Brooklyn Wanamaker. Brooklyn made a great save, which is how the match ended. I am so proud of this team and the mental toughness they showed, never giving up, fighting to the absolute end. It was truly an unfortunate end for our team, but especially our seniors. Very tough to swallow.