Lady Pioneers rock Shelbyville
After dropping their first district match last Thursday at Franklin County, the Lady Pioneers had an entire week to sit and stew over the loss. By the time they got a chance to get back on the field, Shelbyville wasn’t ready for their fury.
Warren County dispatched the visiting Lady Eagles with ease Thursday, winning 4-1 to improve to 10-3 overall and 3-1 in District 6AAA matches. The Lady Pioneer scoring came from everywhere, with Breezy Wanamaker, Bekah Jackson, Jessica Chastain and Katie Toney all getting on the board.
Shelbyville didn’t have any answers on a spread-out field Thursday. Last week, the Lady Eagles used their small field to box in Warren County. That strategy led to the Lady Pioneers needing to win a PK shootout to down Shelbyville, but the rematch wasn’t going to go to extra time.
Wanamaker scored off a corner kick just 13 minutes into the match and Warren County never looked back. The first score may have been the most satisfying for coach Todd Willmore, particularly with how hard the team focused on corners in practice.
“When we’ve been able to get practice in this week, corners were the focus. Both offensively and defensively, we haven’t played corners like we should,” said Willmore. “We wanted to be more aggressive and make hard runs. We did that tonight.
“We talked to Breezy and Jaden (Smartt) on repositioning on the back side. Breezy did what we talked about was in the perfect position.”
Wanamaker only needed one touch on the long ball to get a clean look. She blasted it high right, easily out of the reach of Shelbyville’s keeper.
Another adjustment Warren County put in after last week’s 4-2 loss at Franklin County was moving Bailey Bundy to the outside. Her speed can be a threat and it didn’t take long for Bundy to pay dividends.
She had several long runs to pressure the Shelbyville defense and enacted attacks. She recorded an assist in the 18th minute, feeding Jackson in the middle of the field after chasing down a long lead pass from Toney. Jackson did the rest, taking a quick 1-2 touch before hitting a low liner to the left side of the net.
Chastain subbed in following Jackson’s goal and made an instant impact. During a flurry where Warren County swarmed the Shelbyville net, Chastain proved to be in the right place at the right time. Jackson was denied on a point-blank shot, but it was hit so hard, the ricochet came right to Chastain. She scored the rebound with ease, pushing Warren County ahead 3-0 at the break.
The score looked like it would hold up throughout the second half, but Toney added some extra insurance with four minutes remaining. The senior notched her 27th goal by boxing out a defender, getting to her right foot and hitting a missile over the keeper.
Toney has scored in all four district games, notching five scores in total.
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Warren County was seconds away from recording a shutout, but the Lady Pioneers had a miscue off a goal kick and allowed a wide-open shot from the top of the 18 that was true. The goal with :47 left did little to dampen the team’s spirits though, particularly in such a strong bounce-back performance.
“It was a super nice win. One of our goals was to play better than we did last Thursday. The girls did a good job of that tonight,” said Willmore.
Warren County seemingly has control of its own destiny in the district race. With wins next week against Franklin County and Coffee County, the Lady Pioneers would finish 5-1 in district games. Only Franklin County, which has already lost to Shelbyville, has a path to a 5-1 finish due to its win over the Lady Pioneers last week.
The Lady Pioneers and Lady Rebels will have a rematch in Warren County next Tuesday, Sept. 28. Warren County completes its district schedule with a make-up match in Manchester Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Senior night for the Lady Pioneers is set for next Thursday, Sept. 30 against Rockvale, which will be the third game in as many nights.