So many times in the fall, fans get so wrapped up in football that they forget Warren County has many more teams battling for respect. Lately, the Lady Pioneers – both in volleyball and soccer – have been carrying the mantle for the area and picking up steam as the postseason draws near.
There have been some rocky moments for the ladies this fall, but it feels like both squads have found their footing at the perfect time. The Lady Pioneer soccer program, under the direction of first-year coach Kimberly Smith, won a pair of district bouts last week, punctuated by a PK shootout win at Shelbyville.
On the hardwood, coach Erin Blalock’s team showed a ton of fight by taking down Franklin County at home in five sets last week. The Lady Pioneers weren’t able to sustain their momentum when they fell to Coffee County, but there’s still been major progress in the program after a few weeks of losing virtually every close match.
Both are in the mix for region bids this year once the tournament starts – a huge step in the right direction for volleyball and proof the soccer program could sustain success even after the loss of legendary coach Todd Willmore. If the ball bounces the right way for both, it could be a memorable October for the Lady Pioneers and, hopefully, many people will be there to see it happen.
When it comes to fanfare locally, there’s no fighting the football team. Everybody loves Nunley Stadium on Friday nights, including many of the Lady Pioneers playing other sports this fall. Nobody holds a grudge or has jealousy for the shine the Pioneers get every time they come out to capacity crowds, but it’s never a bad thing when the spotlight finds other sports too.
There’s no denying that the Lady Pioneers get some extra pep in their step when more fans – particularly their peers forming student sections – make an appearance. The energy changes, the focus intensifies and Warren County usually gets the benefit of putting a big W on its resume.
The games alone are usually worth the price of admission, but there’s senior stars littering both rosters as well that fans should check out while they still have a chance. Bekah Jackson and Savannah Winfree, stars on each side of the pitch for the Lady Pioneer soccer team, are tremendous. For the volleyball team, Ally Beneke and Mia Hobbs soar at the net and Jessie Young proves that great things can come in small packages.
Make sure to check both programs out on their upcoming senior nights. Volleyball will honor its leaders this Tuesday, while soccer will send off its seniors Tuesday, Oct. 4.