For the second straight week, a promising season by a Lady Pioneer program ended in Soddy Daisy.
The Warren County High School soccer team was defeated 6-0 in the regional semifinals by the Lady Trojans on Tuesday night. It came a week after the volleyball team lost in Soddy Daisy.
Warren County (16-5) knew the challenge was a big one against the state-ranked Lady Trojans.
The Lady Pioneers had lost to Soddy Daisy earlier this season and were eliminated last season by the Lady Trojans, but hoped to reverse the trend Tuesday.
Warren County couldn’t compete with Soddy Daisy star Summer Lanter though. Lanter had a hat trick and Hannah Wyatt scored two goals as the Lady Trojans moved into the regional finals against Cookeville.
Coach Todd Willmore told his team following the game it shouldn’t be the lasting impression of this season.
“I told our girls this wasn’t a game to dwell on,” said Willmore. “This was not indicative of our team. Our girls did some special things this season, including winning a regular season district title.”
Despite all the success this season for Warren County, the Lady Trojans were one obstacle the team couldn’t overcome.
The Lady Pioneers held tough in the opening minutes, but two goals by Lanter in a span of three minutes changed the entire course of the game.
Warren County kept the Lady Trojans off the scoreboard for the first 25 minutes. Keeper Lyndi Dodd was tested early and often, but came up with big saves time and time again.
The Lady Pioneers had a few near misses early, including Ayla Anish and Ansley Mullican having shots stopped, but Soddy Daisy controlled the ball most of the first half.
The continuous pressure from the Lady Trojans finally broke down the Warren County defense with 15 minutes left in the first half.
Lanter made a run deep into the heart of the Lady Pioneer zone and got an open look near the edge of the keeper box. Lanter blasted a shot to the top-right corner for Soddy Daisy’s first goal.
Warren County didn’t recover quick enough from the defensive letdown. Lanter got another look just two minutes later we she raced past the entire defense for an open shot. Dodd rushed out to try to block the shot, but it ricocheted off her stomach as she dived to make the play and the ball bounced into the goal.
Warren County withstood a few more shots on goal to go into halftime trailing 2-0. Willmore made a switch to send the Lady Pioneers back into an attacking offense, but the plan ended up giving Soddy Daisy more open looks.
Wyatt got her first goal 10 minutes into the second half to make it 3-0, then Lanter completed her hat trick five minutes later to make it a four-goal game.
The Lady Pioneers rushed the Soddy Daisy defense on a few occasions in the second half, but the high-powered offense never got any clean looks to score.
Wyatt and Megan Weller capped off the scoring for Soddy to give the Lady Trojans a 6-0 victory.
Coach Willmore wasn’t displeased with his team’s performance against the Lady Trojans.
“I thought our girls gave great effort. Soddy Daisy is just a really good team,” said Willmore.
For six Lady Pioneer seniors, Thursday night’s game was the final match of their high school careers.
Allison Connor, Emily Crawford, Nicole Mullican, Mary Ann Haley, Molly Campbell and Emily Gawel helped the Lady Pioneers to back-to-back appearances in the regionals, something coach Willmore thought was an indicator on how hard the group had worked on their careers.
“If you look back at where we were four years ago and where we’ve been these last two years, I think it’s a testament to how hard our group of seniors have worked,” said Willmore.
The Lady Pioneers finished the season with 16 wins and four of their five losses were to teams who made it to the regional finals. Warren County projects to return eight starters for next year.