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Honoring seniors
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Photo courtesy of Painted Barn Media The Lady Pioneers honored their seniors Tuesday in their final home game. PIctured are, coach Kimberly Smith, Savannah Winfree, Bekah Jackson and asssistant coach Alan Brownyard.

It wasn’t a large celebration Tuesday night, but what the 2022 soccer senior class lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in talent. Bekah Jackson and Savannah Winfree have had gigantic impacts on the program and their exploits – and years of great service – were honored on the team’s final home game.

Jackson and Winfree took center stage on senior night, where the Lady Pioneers paid homage to two players who have been pillars of the program since stepping foot at Warren County. Both have played integral roles in the team’s latest run of success, which includes battles for district titles and region bids.

It was hard for new coach Kimberly Smith to have to say goodbye to her seniors, knowing their impact won’t soon be replaced or ever forgotten.

“I couldn’t have asked for two better leaders in my first year. It’s bittersweet to see them go, but I know they have such big things ahead for them,” said coach Smith.

Jackson and Winfree soaked up every special moment, even soaking in a few firsts in their careers. The seniors got to sing the national anthem before going to battle with Independence. The only negative on a night of love and support for the seniors was the final score – Warren County lost 8-0.

After the game, it was all about reflection for Smith. She had seen Jackson and Winfree work their magic daily in practice the last three years as an assistant, but the duo took it to another level as leaders this year.

“They bring drive and leadership to our team. They have showed up to every practice and game ready to play,” said coach Smith. “They have improved so much over four years. They’ve been willing to play different positions and do whatever job we needed them to do. All of the girls look up to them.”

They are two of the most decorated players in program history, with more accolades likely coming when the district makes its final decisions. Jackson, a 60-plus goal scorer who could end up with nearly 50 career assists as well, has been named all-state, all-region, all-district and the rookie of the year in District 6AAA during her career. Likewise, Winfree is a multi-time all-region and all-district performer in her career.

Jackson and Winfree have found ways to stand out on opposite sides of the pitch. Jackson is the team’s offensive hub, a masterful scorer who also spreads perfect passes to teammates as well. On the other side, Winfree uses her power and speed to shut down even the best scorers in the Midstate.

“It was a great balance knowing we had both positions filled with strong girls who knew what to do and could lead on both areas,” said Smith.

The seniors aren’t looking to wrap up their careers anytime soon though. The Lady Pioneers will continue play next Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Shelbyville in the District 6AAA tournament semifinals. With a win, Warren County would advance to the finals and earn a bid into the region tourney.