Heading into the season, expectations are high for the WCHS Lady Pioneer soccer team.
After competing for the past two weeks in 7-on-7 scrimmages at Independence High School in Williamson County, those expectations are now even greater.
Warren County finished with an 8-2-2 record to win a talent-packed league.
“It was a great experience for the girls and we definitely improved as a team,” said WCHS coach Todd Willmore. “I was very proud of our effort and intensity the past two weeks. This group continues to be a lot of fun.”
Warren County played three games a night on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a total of 12 games. The games were shorter with two 12-minute halves and the field was smaller. The result was faster action that demanded crisper passes in tight spaces.
“Playing in a game situation like that gave us a chance to work on our conditioning,” said Willmore. “We decided to participate in the 7-on-7 scrimmages in lieu of a team camp this year.”
Warren County secured first place in the league Thursday by beating Mt. Juliet 4-0 and Centennial 2-1. The Lady Pioneers were ahead but allowed Independence to come back and earn a 2-2 tie.
“The girls played extremely well Thursday night and are eager to begin our season,” said Willmore.
Perhaps the main question mark surrounding the Lady Pioneers in recent weeks is who will play goalie. Last year’s starter decided not to play soccer this year.
Savannah Winfree, a junior, has stepped into that spot nicely. At practice on Wednesday, Winfree was up to the test and looked comfortable challenging shots at close range.
“She’s athletic and has a good, attacking mindset,” said Willmore. “She’s a natural at that position.”
Winfree and seniors Shelby Roberts and Natalie Stepien are expected to solidify the defense. The offense is filled with star power, including senior Katie Toney, juniors Bekah Jackson and Bailey Bundy, and sophomore Carmen Verdel.
Warren County is scheduled to have a home scrimmage Aug. 3 against Cookeville before travelling to Murfreesboro for a scrimmage against Blackman on Aug. 12. Willmore said he would also like to organize an alumni game before the regular season begins.