It was quality versus quantity Tuesday night as the WCHS Pioneer soccer team felled Rhea County 3-0 to advance to the district championship game in Cookeville.
Although the Golden Eagles spent more time with ball, the Pioneer offense was able to capitalize on its shots toward the keeper, earning all 3 goals in the first half and defending the lead in the second.
“It was a slow start for us, but the boys held it together nicely with Rhea attacking one too many times early on,” said WCHS coach Orion Smith. “We attacked the game with conviction and just had fun with the game. The seniors are really playing well this year and the younger players are stepping up well against much older, experienced players. We have had some tough loses this year and I am glad we are winning important games to keep our season alive.”
“Many people look to the starters to keep the game going, but it’s our players who are stepping in when the starters are worn down who are really shining. I am thankful as a coach to have not only 11 but 30 players on my team who truly understand what soccer is all about,” Smith continued. “From our freshmen to seniors, the group of players range with many talents and experiences but on the pitch they are phenomenal student-athletes.”
F.D. De Santiago was the first Warren County player to score at the 15-minute mark off an assist by Jakob Morin, who passed to Santiago in front of the goal to beat the keeper.
Santiago made the second goal nine minutes later as he beat the Golden Eagle defense and the goalie with a hard shot on net.
Five minutes later, Santiago found James Jackson in front of the net, and Jackson wasted no time making it 3-0 before the half.
The Pioneers played their district championship Thursday night in Cookeville. Results were not available at press time.