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Lady Pioneers tested in Tourney of Champions
Sarai Ruiz.jpg
Sarai Ruiz, pictured in a previous match, scored a goal in a 5-1 win over Lipscomb Academy Saturday.
Natalie Stepien.jpg
Natalie Stepien and the Lady Pioneers will enter district play with a 5-2-2 record. Warren County faces Rhea County at 5 p.m. Thursday at home.

Tested against some of the top talent in the Midstate, the Lady Pioneer soccer team found out over the weekend it still has work to do.

The Warren County High School soccer team split its matchups Saturday in the Tournament of Champions, falling to Merrol Hyde 3-0 before beating Lipscomb Academy 5-1 to end its weekend.

The Lady Pioneers fell previously in the event last Thursday to Pope John Paul II 4-0, their first loss of the year.

Warren County (5-2-2) wasn’t able to bounce back from its loss to the Lady Knights early Saturday, succumbing to Merrol Hyde, a magnet school in Hendersonville.

Although the outcome went the other way, coach Todd Willmore couldn’t fault his team’s effort, which was waning in the team’s loss two days prior.

“The initial effort was awesome,” said Willmore. “They won a majority of 50-50 balls, which created a number of scoring opportunities. We dominated the half, but had nothing to show for it – their keeper made excellent saves.”

The Lady Hawks were able to strike in the second half, scoring off a corner kick and a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. The team’s third goal came on a breakaway where the side judge raised a flag for offsides, but the center judge overruled the call that allowed for Merrol Hyde to put the game away.

“The positive aspect was our girls kept fighting to the final whistle and had several chances to score. It was a shame the girls played so well, but the final score did not indicate their efforts,” said Willmore.

Their efforts were rewarded later in the afternoon.

Katie Toney had two goals and an assist, leading the Lady Pioneers to a blowout against Lipscomb Academy.

Senior Julia Taylor added her first goal this season, while Sarai Ruiz also scored on a header. Breezy Wanamaker rounded out the scoring, set up by Toney. 

Freshman Bekah Jackson assisted on Ruiz’s goal.

Warren County is set to take its home field this Thursday, Sept. 12 for its first District 6AAA matchup. The Lady Pioneers will face Rhea County at 6 p.m.