Warren shares girls’ soccer crown
VINCENT – The Warren Lady Warriors celebrated senior night by wrapping up a share of the South Eastern Ohio Athletic League Championship by downing the visiting Logan Lady Chieftains 2-0 Thursday night at Warren High School.
Raelyn Gardner and Raeli Barnes scored first- half goals to lead the Lady Warriors to victory No. 13 on the season, the most regular-season wins in school history according to head coach Ekrem Eksi.
“I’m proud of the girls and they have done a great job so far,” said Eksi of his team. “We have to get ready for the tournament now.”
Despite defeating and tying Jackson in its two matchups this season, Warren will share the SEOAL crown with the Iron Ladies as each squad closed out the regular season with identical 6-1-1 conference records.
The royal blue and white wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Logan as Gardner drilled a shot past Lady Chief keeper Hannah Visintainer for her 21st goal of the season and a 1-0 Warren lead less than four minutes into the game.
“It was just a nice pass from Raeli (Barnes) to Raelyn (Gardner), said Eksi. “She finished it nicely to give us a quick lead.”
Barnes was credited with the assist on the play as her kick from the middle set up Gardner on the right side of the goal.
The Lady Warriors were definitely the aggressors in the opening half as they got off seven shots on goal compared to just two for Logan.
After allowing the Gardner goal, Visintainer protected the goal for Logan by coming up with four first-half saves but the Lady Warriors managed to score against her once more with just over nine minutes to play in the half.
Gardner returned the favor to Barnes as she set her up beautifully with a left footed send which Barnes drilled off the hands of Vistainer and just into the goal for a 2-0 Warren lead.
The goal was the 27th of the season for the super sophomore.
Eksi was pleased with the two first half goals but felt his girls may have a left a few more opportunities on the pitch.
“We had better opportunities than those two goals,” said Eksi. “We just didn’t finish them and unfortunately sometimes that is the way it happens.”
Warren narrowly missed making it a three-goal lead early in the second half but Hayley McPherson’s shot from the left side of the goal was just a little wide.
Logan had its best scoring opportunity with 22 minutes to go in the game but Warren goal keeper Kayla Maze knocked a pair of solid kicks away from the goal to protect the shutout.
Janelle Barth, Gardner, and Barnes all had nice looks late in the game but all three shots failed to reach the back of the net.
Maze had a rather uneventful evening at the goal for Warren as she was credited with three saves on just four Logan shots on goal.
Warren got off 13 shots in the game with Visintainer getting eight saves.
The game marked the final regular season home game for the Warrior senior class that consisted of Gardner, Natalie O’Dell, Maze, Jordan Smrek, Marissa O’Callahan, Abby Ida and Daniell Church.
Eksi hopes that his seniors can put together a strong tournament run to extend their senior season a little longer.
“They (seniors) are a nice group of kids and I am really proud of them,” said Eksi. “They have done a real good job so far and we are going to miss them but we still have some goals to meet in the tournament.”
Warren will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season with a 13-2-1 record.
The two seed earned the Warriors a first-round bye as they will host the winner of the Athens versus Chillicothe game back in Vincent next Thursday at 5 p.m.