Slow starts have been a recurring problem for the Warren County High School soccer team, but the Pioneers have found ways to recover recently.
This wasn’t the case though Monday night when the Lebanon Blue Devils visited Warren County. The Pioneers fell behind early and never threatened as Lebanon scored two more goals late to win 3-0.
It would have been easy to expect the Blue Devils to start slow, as the team didn’t show up until 20 minutes before game time. Lebanon wasn’t road-weary however, as it started out on the offensive and never let up.
The Blue Devils got a goal in the first 10 minutes when action was clogged up in front of the Pioneer goal and keeper Chad Womack couldn’t locate the ball.
Defender Cole Warden looked to have been shoved down trying to make a play in the box, but no call was made and the Blue Devils went up 1-0.
Moments later, it looked like the Pioneers had dug a two-goal hole when the Blue Devils found the back of the net once again. Lebanon was called for offside though, disallowing the goal.
The effort in the first 15 minutes was enough to make Warren County coach Todd Willmore make a lineup overhaul. Willmore sent in five reserves in hopes of finding a spark. When nothing seemed to pan out over the next 10 minutes, Willmore sent his starters back in.
Coach Willmore’s line changes did little to change the momentum of the first half. Alex Serna had the only good look for the Pioneers in the first half, but his shot was snagged by the Lebanon keeper.
On the other side, Lebanon kept Womack busy in the goal for Warren County. Womack made 10 stops in the first half, including a diving stop as a Blue Devil player was charging in to try a shot. Womack also had to come up and played one ball out of his box, meaning the Warren County keeper couldn’t use his hands to make the play.
Womack’s effective first half kept the Pioneers within one at halftime, but Warren County never made it a game in the second half.
Lebanon got a quick score to make it 2-0, further dampening the Pioneers hope of moving to over .500 on the season.
As action got closer to the end, play became chippy as both squads started to show the frustration of a very physical game.
Warren County was called for the final foul with just seconds remaining, setting up a free kick for Lebanon in the Pioneer zone.
To throw salt in the wound, the Blue Devils scored off the free kick just before the final whistle blew. It was the tipping point for coach Willmore, who had his team run sprints after the game.
The 3-0 loss wasn’t something Willmore wanted to see after his team had battled back last week to even its record at 3-3-1.
The Pioneers have a big game on the horizon, as Warren County plays host to Cumberland County tomorrow night at Warren County High School soccer field.
The Pioneers go into the game sporting a 1-0-1 record in District 6-AAA and every match is a key battle for tournament seeding. The Pioneers and Jets will kick off tomorrow at 7 p.m.