Winning every game has been the goal of the Warren County High School soccer team this season, but the Lady Pioneers seem to take extra pride in beating Coffee County.
On a night where Warren County celebrated the career of 10 seniors, the Lady Pioneers crushed Coffee County 7-2 at home in front of a huge crowd.
Seniors Madison Smartt and Lauren Roller scored two goals each, while juniors Ansley Mullican and Morgan McCormick each added to their scoring total as well in a romp of the Lady Raiders.
The rivalry between the Lady Pioneers and Lady Raiders has been heated the past two years when an incident on the sidelines at Coffee County last season served as a rallying point for Warren County.
When insults shouted at Smartt during a match in Manchester led to fans being warned by referees and sparked harsh fouls by both teams, the Lady Pioneers decided to take out their frustrations with the Lady Raiders on the scoreboard.
Warren County beat Coffee County 7-2 earlier this season when the Lady Pioneers scored seven straight goals to end the game. Warren County picked up where it left off when Thursday’s match began.
Mullican got the scoring started when she sprinted past the Coffee County defense for an unassisted goal, her first of two goals in the game.
Smartt made it 2-0 moments later when her hustle resulted in a goal. Smartt took a shot, but the Coffee County keeper was able to deflect the ball away. On the rebound, Smartt made sure she didn’t miss twice as she tapped in the carom for her 10th goal this season.
Roller got into the scoring column when she connected on a direct kick from outside the 18-yard box to make it 3-0 midway through the first half.
Mullican made another run through the defense on her own for the team’s fourth first-half goal, then the junior made a perfect pass to Roller for another goal as Warren County went to the break leading 5-0.
Coach Todd Willmore noticed his team didn’t lack motivation against Coffee County when the game began and the Lady Pioneers didn’t let up when play resumed in the second half.
“We came out with intensity and really never let up,” said Willmore. “We talked at halftime about finishing teams off and having a killer instinct, something we’ve sometimes lacked.
“Coming out of halftime, we knew a couple more goals would really hurt their spirits and our girls got them.”
Smartt struck for the second time four minutes into the second half as she got a touch pass from Mullican in front of the net for an easy goal.
McCormick capped the scoring for Warren County with an unassisted goal five minutes later as the Lady Pioneers led 7-0 with 30 minutes to play. McCormick’s goal completed a streak where Warren County scored 14 straight goals against the Lady Raiders.
The shutout bid for senior Lyndi Dodd ended with 18 minutes to play as Coffee County got a goal. Coach Willmore made many substitutions following the score as he gave his younger players a chance to play.
The Lady Raiders would add another goal late, but it hardly put a dent in the celebration the Lady Pioneers had following the senior night success.
Coach Willmore believed his entire team played a big part in the victory.
“It was probably the best game we’ve played in a long time,” said Willmore. “Across the board, we have people making plays. Girls were hustling to maintain possession and trying to put their teammates in position to score.”
Warren County improved to 10-6 overall with the victory and 5-1 in District 6-AAA. The win over Coffee County was especially important as the Lady Pioneers stayed in the hunt for the district championship, something coach Willmore knew coming into the game.
“It was a big win for us in terms of district play,” said Willmore. “It allows us to control our own destiny with Cookeville coming up.”
The win sets up a battle for the top spot Tuesday as the Lady Cavaliers visit Warren County. Cookeville won the 2-1 in overtime earlier this season, a loss the Lady Pioneers haven’t forgotten.
Tuesday’s pivotal district match is set to begin at 7 p.m.