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Lady Pioneers claim championship
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Knowing the No. 1 seed in the District 6-AAA tournament was already assured, the Warren County High School soccer team had little motivation going to Cumberland County Thursday night.
By the time the Lady Pioneers left Crossville though, a rematch was all Warren County wanted despite extending its long winning streak over the Lady Jets.
Physical play on the field and vandalism to Warren County vehicles off the field overshadowed a 5-0 victory for the Lady Pioneers.
Thursday’s win was supposed to be an extended celebration from Tuesday night, when Warren County defeated Cookeville 4-1 to own any tiebreakers should the district standings finish in a tie.
The Lady Pioneers made those conversations a moot point by downing the Lady Jets, but celebrating the team’s first outright regular-season district championship under coach Todd Willmore wasn’t in the cards when the team got to the parking lot.
Several Warren County cars had been vandalized, which added to the frustration of the Lady Pioneers who thought the match had gotten too physical.
Warren County senior Kimba Warden got the worst end of the brutal battle as she was given two questionable yellow cards, Willmore said, which resulted in the Lady Pioneers having to play the final 15 minutes with only 10 players. By then, Warren County had already built a 5-0 lead and even at a disadvantage the Lady Pioneers controlled action.
Coach Willmore may not have agreed with some of the calls that went against his team, but he did think the play of the Lady Pioneers was more than enough to defeat the Lady Jets.
“When the game started, Cumberland County put 10 defenders back trying to slow us down,” said Willmore. “We still controlled possession and did the things we wanted to do. We rushed some shots and had some shots go directly at the keeper, but we started capitalizing on our opportunities.
“Even when we were forced to play one down, we controlled action.”
Warren County finished with 37 shots on goal as the Lady Pioneers fired at will against the over-matched Lady Jet defense.
The Lady Pioneers had 10 shots on goal early before senior Lauren Roller broke through with the team’s first goal.
Roller hit a low shot that snuck by the Cumberland County keeper to put Warren County ahead 1-0.
The first goal seemed to opened the flood gates as Morgan McCormick and Ansley Mullican took over before halftime.
Mullican fed McCormick for the second Lady Pioneer goal, then McCormick returned the favor to Mullican as Warren County went to the locker rooms up 3-0.
Roller and McCormick each scored for a second time early in the second half as Warren County pulled away for an easy win.
Coach Willmore knew having the No. 1 seed wrapped up before Thursday’s game could have some effect on his team, but he was glad to see the Lady Pioneers take care of business.
“We didn’t come out with the kind of focus I would like, but that was to be expected with the circumstances being what they were,” said Willmore. “We were still able to make it happen and get the job done.
“Our defense played pretty well and our offense made plays.”
Warren County will turn its focus to its final match of the regular season Tuesday against Soddy Daisy.
The Lady Trojans come to town after having eliminated the Lady Pioneers in the regional tournament the past two years. Tuesday’s match will begin at 6 p.m.