The Lady Pioneer soccer team traveled to Franklin County on Thursday night for the TSSAA District 6AAA Championship.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Lady Pioneers who faced Franklin County for the third time this season. Franklin County swept the season series and took the championship over Warren County with a 4-1 victory. Warren County ended the tournament in second place, which places the Lady Pioneers in the region tournament Tuesday night.
The first half was scoreless for the first 25 minutes in an evenly fought match. Franklin County scored first with 14:49 left on the clock. Four minutes later, Katie Toney scored for the Lady Pioneers with a powerful kick from 25 yards out. Toney had at least two more shots on goal later in the half that just missed going into the net. The first half ended in a 1-1 tie.
The second half was dominated by Franklin County, taking the lead with a tenacious kick in a crowd around the front of the Warren County goal with 25:21 on the clock. Warren County had a difficult time getting past midfield afterwards to attack the goal.
OPPOSING HEAD COACH COMMENTS
Franklin County coach Kent Bean briefly discussed his team’s season and the match against Warren County. Bean said, “Our season was a battle. We fought through injuries. We had some girls play tonight who were not able to play against Warren County earlier in the season. They fought through some pain and came back. We have lost two games, one to Mt. Juliet and the other to Shelbyville at the first of the season. That is a good, tough team (Warren County). We seem to match up well against them. We talked about establishing our position at midfield at halftime, and it made a difference.”
Senior Natalie Stepien said, “We did as well as we could. We played well. They played well. I am really proud of our team. We got a lot of awards. We have great players, great spirt, and a great coach. You couldn’t ask for a better team. We will go to practice on Monday, figure out what went wrong, and start from there.”
After the match, several Lady Pioneers received District 6AAA awards.
DISTRICT MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR
As runner-ups in District 6AAA, the Lady Pioneers are in the Region 3 Tournament against District 5 champion McMinn County. It will be a familiar trip for the Lady Pioneers who have played against McMinn County in past region tournaments in Athens.
If Warren County wins and Franklin County beats Rhea County, the Lady Pioneers would face Franklin County for the fourth time this season in the region championship match.