A postponement of Tuesday night’s District 6-AAA semifinal soccer game between Cumberland County and Warren County made for a chilly game on Wednesday night.
Despite playing in a drizzling rain and sub 40-degree temperature, the Lady Pioneers warmed up early and ran away with a 7-0 victory over the Lady Jets on their home field.
Warren County, (16-3), earned the right to host its District 6-AAA games by winning the regular season championship. The Lady Pioneers looked right at home in the cold as Morgan McCormick and Madison Smartt each recorded hat tricks in the victory.
McCormick, the Lady Pioneers leading scorer, came out of the gates quick. McCormick scored two goals in the first 15 minutes, adding to her impressive goal total for the season.
Coach Todd Willmore praised his team for the quick start and the patience the Lady Pioneers showed to keep expanding the lead.
“We got off to a great start in the first 15 minutes, then we began to work our offense and possess the ball,” said Willmore. “We worked on the things we needed to work on in the second half and made the lead hold up.”
Smartt got on the board with 10 minutes left in the first half. The Lady Pioneer junior struck when Cumberland County failed to clear the ball out of the zone. Smartt took possession of the ball and beat the keeper for Warren County’s third goal.
Sophomore Ansley Mullican made sure the Lady Pioneer lead would be insurmountable going into halftime. Mullican took a lead pass from Kimba Warden down the left side and drilled a shot just inside the left post to put the Lady Pioneers up 4-0 going into halftime.
McCormick scored three minutes into the second half on a breakaway goal. The 5-0 advantage prompted Willmore to clear the bench in an attempt to rest his starters for the championship and to get his young players some valuable time.
Smartt stayed on the field in the second half to keep the Lady Pioneers offense moving, and she was able to do so in impressive fashion.
Smartt’s second goal came off a great pass from freshman Rylee Hilliard. Hilliard advanced through the Cumberland County zone on the right side while Smartt moved through the middle of the defense.
Hilliard passed up a chance to take a shot near the goal and instead crossed the pass to the opposite post. Smartt swooped in and drilled the ball past the keeper for her second goal and the Lady Pioneers’ sixth score.
The final moments ticked down as Warren County started anticipating another game with either Cookeville or Coffee County in the District 6-AAA championship.
Before the final whistle blew though, Smartt capped off the hat trick by sneaking in a goal on a one-on-one opportunity as the Lady Pioneers scored seven goals for the fourth time this season.
Following the game, the Lady Pioneers found out they would be facing Cookeville in the championship after the Lady Cavaliers defeated Coffee County 2-1.
The championship game served as the rubber match between the two squads as Warren County and Cookeville split the regular-season series.
The championship game was held at Warren County High School last night. Results were unavailable at press time.
With Wednesday’s win, the Lady Pioneers clinched their second straight bid to the regional tournament. The regional tournament will start next week.
More details on the regional tournament and last night’s championship game can be found in Sunday’s Southern Standard.