Central Tennessee Conference soccer teams need to take notice. The Pioneers are starting to look dominant again.
Warren County, winner of the last five CTC titles, has started to round into shape as the season has gone along. The Pioneers turned into their most impressive performance Monday, downing Franklin North 8-0 to end the season on a high note.
“The guys have really bought in to their roles. They have overcome adversity and fought back from being behind in games and some tough losses to prevail now,” said coach Ario Zadeh. “They’ve learned to trust one another and believe in themselves.”
The Pioneers look completely different from the team which lost their season opener in Shelbyville 5-0. Warren County hasn’t lost a CTC game since, going 5-0 and outscoring its conference opponents 28-3.
The visiting Gators had little chance of slowing down the Pioneers Monday. Warren County built a 3-0 lead by halftime, then piled up five more goals in the second half on a successful eighth-grade night.
Yesh Picruiz got the scoring started on a corner kick. His shot made it into the box, escaping the reach of the keeper and bouncing into the net.
Joan Garcia made it 2-0 shortly after, beating almost the entire Gator defense on his own on the way to the goal. Garcia got a run down the sideline before angling toward the goal down the line. Despite the defense converging, Garcia was able to get a quick look, beating the keeper on the short side for his first of two goals.
Jordan Ramirez made it 3-0 right before halftime, firing in a point-blank shot which ricocheted off a defender and through the hands of the keeper to net another Pioneer goal.
Warren County didn’t waste time getting back on the offensive when the second half started. After nearly getting a goal when a ball slipped through the Gator keeper’s legs, only to be stopped just short of the line, Uriah King made the next Pioneer shot count.
King got a running start through the heart of the defense, with Garcia playing a shot deep into the zone. King was the first to catch up to the bouncing ball, settling it down and spinning into an open shot. King blasted a low liner into the left corner, pushing the lead to 4-0.
The Pioneers continued to pepper the net throughout the second half, with Garcia scoring again, Picruiz netting his second goal on a penalty kick and Jorge Vasquez getting into the scoring column as well. Warren County also benefited from an own goal when Franklin North accidentally knocked one in its own net.
The resounding victory in the season finale has coach Zadeh believing his team is ready for tournament play.
“I know we are ready for the tournament. These guys are resilient and are champions,” said Zadeh. “They are ready to prove it in game play. It’s in their body language and dominant play.
“I’m lucky to be a part of their journey. They’re ready to close the season with a strong tournament and championship.”
Warren County now awaits the CTC tournament, which will be held Saturday, April 28 in Tullahoma. Seedings and game times will be provided when determined later this week.