Warren girl booters are moving on in postseason

Warren freshman Taylor Sloan heads teammate Taylor Vickers’ (not pictured) corner kick into the goal to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead during first-half girls’ sectional soccer action at WHS Tuesday. The 5-foot-2 Sloan also had a head goal in the second half, and helped Warren defeat Athens, 3-0. Ron Johnston, THE MARIETTA TIMES

VINCENT — Taylor Sloan was big on corner kicks.

The 5-foot-2 Warren High freshman headed home two winners to help the Warriors blank visiting Athens High, 3-0, in a girls’ soccer Division II sectional opener Tuesday night.

“Being the shortest one is very hard to get headers, but I wouldn’t have got those without the crosses of Taylor Vickers and all of my teammates for getting me this far,” said Sloan. “I’m just so proud of our team for all of the accomplishments we’ve done.”

Allison Werry also added a goal for the Warriors, who evened their record at 7-7-3. The royal blue and white booters will now advance and play at Fairfield Union at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“They’re the number one seed, so they’ll be a huge opponent for us,” said first-year WHS girls’ boss Andy Pinkerton. “But we definitely want to see how much we’ve progressed.”

Athens — which tied and beat Warren during regular-season play– exits with a 4-9-2 record. The Nick Dioguardi-coached Bulldogs had one golden opportunity to score in the second half, but Warren defender Sophie Knapp made a non-goalie save.

“Madison (Miller, goalkeeper) came out to challenge a ball, and (Athens) was able to get a shot off, but Sophie, a former goalkeeper, positioned herself in a perfect spot to be able to have that non-goalie save,” Pinkerton said.

Miller ultimately was credited with a clean sheet.

During the 12th minute of play, Warren was awarded a set piece corner kick from the right side. On Vickers’ kick, Sloan headed the ball past AHS keeper Elena Delch to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage.

“We have our plays, so I just try to follow the plays, and put it in the top of the 6,” Vickers said. “We have people running there. It’s just a matter of connecting with the ball.”

Added Pinkerton, “That was huge. It was great for Taylor Sloan to step up and fill that role. She’s got the heart of a champion.”

At halftime, Warren led 1-0.

Early in the second half, the Warriors got another corner kick opportunity and again made the most of it with Vickers and Sloan hooking up a second time to make it 2-0.

“We practice them a lot,” Sloan said. “And they definitely pay off. Taylor just kicks it in there, and she’s amazing at crosses.

“On the second one, I hit the ball with my head and it hit the post and went back in.”

Said Vickers, “Corner kicks are something I’ve always done. It’s so nice to have girls that are able to connect it to the goal. We were just lucky tonight, and fortunate to have two that got connected by Sloan.”

Not long afterwards, Warren junior Kayleigh Hutchinson surged on goal from the right wing and delivered a hard shot, which the Bulldogs’ keeper batted away. Following up the shot and getting the rebound, Werry put the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

“We put together a solid 80 minutes of the game,” Pinkerton said. “It was definitely fun to watch. You always say that you want to peak towards the end of the season. This is definitely the best game we’ve put together from top to bottom.”