Finishing games and holding onto leads hasn’t been the strong suit of the Warren County High School soccer team early this season.
Tuesday looked like more of the same for the Pioneers, as the team came out sluggish in the second half. Warren County got just enough offense in the first half to hold off St. Andrew’s Sewanee however, as the Pioneers won 2-1 at Warren County High School soccer field.
Warren County looked poised to blow out St. Andrew’s when the Pioneers went up early. Robert Eschenbacher scored in the first 10 minutes on a header off a corner kick to give the Pioneers a 1-0 advantage.
Warren County controlled the tempo for most of the first half, while coach Todd Willmore cleared his bench on multiple occasions to keep players fresh.
The periods of rest for most of coach Willmore’s starters paid off big right before the half. With St. Andrew’s in cruise control in the final minutes of the first half, Warren County kept attacking.
The Pioneers stormed down the field with just seconds left. Adam Fann was able to get free from midfield, and bent a shot around two defenders and past the St. Andrew’s keeper for Warren County’s second goal.
The halftime whistles blew less than a minute later, sending Warren County to halftime leading 2-0. Coach Willmore thought the play in the first half was impressive.
“I thought we played well in the first half,” said Willmore. “We controlled the tempo of the game, maintained possession, won 50/50 balls and scored off a set piece.”
The focus and intensity seemed to stay in the Warren County locker room however. The Pioneers didn’t capitalize on numerous scoring chances, which would have put the game away.
To make matters worse, Warren County allowed St. Andrew’s to close the lead to within one when Sewanee got a goal off a free kick outside the box. St. Andrew’s made one pass, and two defenders for Warren County lost their man, leaving keeper Chad Womack vulnerable to an easy shot.
It was the kind of effort that coach Willmore would like to see changed before the Pioneers enter the bulk of their District 6-AAA schedule.
“We did not have the same focus or intensity in the second half,” said Willmore. “We had multiple opportunities to score and could not finish. We need to stay mentally focused and put a complete game together.
“Fortunately, we were still able to walk away with a win. Hopefully, we can use this as a building block for the remainder of the season.”
Warren County will return to action tonight with a tough out-of-district opponent. Cleveland High School, which is projected to finish atop District 5-AAA, comes into town tonight, with game action beginning at 6 p.m.
Tonight’s game will also have a special halftime show. The 2001 Pioneer soccer team, which went to the state semifinals, will be honored during a ceremony. Former players are encouraged to attend the festivities.