Warren's season-high five-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday, as the Dragons fell to Saegertown for the second time this season, 2-1, at War Memorial Field.
The Dragons dominated the majority of the game, keeping possession and outshooting the Panthers, 27-6, but didn't manage to score until there were only nine minutes remaining in the game.
The first half ended in a scoreless tie, with most of the chances going to Warren. Matt Sandberg had the best chance when a header hit the crossbar with 30 seconds to go.
Times Observer photo by Jonathan McAfoos
Matt Sandberg finds a way past a Saegertown defender and breaks in on the goalie during Warren's Tuesday night matchup against the Panthers at War Memorial Field. Sandberg had a very strong game for the Dragons, scoring their only goal, but they fell 2-1.
Warren came out firing again in the second, registering shots on goal consistently throughout the half, but the Panthers goalkeeper made several saves to keep it scoreless.
The Panthers finally struck with 29 minutes to play and added a second on a rebound with 17:29 to play to put the Dragons in a major hole.
Warren pressed hard for the last 15 minutes, but could only manage to cut the lead to one. Matt Sandberg ripped a shot into the upper corner on a pass from Liam Boger for their lone goal. The Dragons had another strong shot go off the crossbar with under five minutes to play.
"We didn't play our best until we were down two," said Warren coach Tom Harrington. "We've got to play strong for 80 minutes. We're capable of playing better."
With no more head-to-head matches, the Panthers (5-1-1 in region) now control their own destiny in Region 4. The Dragons (5-2 in region) have to hope for another team to beat them in order to have a chance at the region title and automatic playoff birth.
Should they finish below first in the region, they'll have a strong chance for an at-large bid thanks to solid wins against McDowell, Northeast and Mercyhurst Prep, among others.
"At-large bids are a little more difficult, especially because our region is pretty weak," Harrington said. "I still feel pretty good about our chances of getting a bid, but it's always better to win the region so we don't have to worry about it."
Warren will try to start a new winning streak when they take on Oil City at home on Thursday.
Mercyhurst Prep 3, Eisenhower 2
It wasn't the result Eisenhower's boys soccer coach Mike Decker was looking for, but his Knights proved they could play with the best in the area as they dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to the Region 3-leading Mercyhurst Prep Lakers.
"We played hard and got good chances," said Decker. "I thought we deserved to win that game."
With the score knotted at 2-2, a handball in the Eisenhower box gave Mercyhurst Prep a penalty kick with just eight minutes remaining in the game. The Lakers took advantage of the opportunity, driving home the game-winner and holding off the Knights to remain unbeaten in the region.
The Knights' first goal came courtesy of junior midfielder Ricky Zortman, pulling Eisenhower within a goal heading into the half. Senior Jake VanHouten tied the game after burying a penalty kick early in the second half.
The loss drops the Knights to 1-5 in Region 3 and 5-5 overall. They are currently tied with Seneca for fourth place in the region behind Mercyhurst Prep, Fairview, and North East - all playoff contenders.
"We have to carry forward and not hang our heads over this one. We have six very winnable games coming up," said Decker.
The first of those will be a road trip Thursday night against the last-place Iroquois Braves.