Meadville edges Warren in Region 6 battle
Most teams spend preseason camp working out the kinks and finding the optimal lineup to put them in the best position to succeed once the season starts.
The Warren girls soccer team is being forced to do that work on the fly lately due to injury. The Lady Dragons were unable to find the exact right combination Wednesday and dropped a 1-0 decision to Meadville at War Memorial Field.
“We’re still figuring out what works,” Warren coach Jeremy Bickling said.
Already without key contributors Kyleigh Wilson, Brooklynn Neurieter and MJ Fadale, freshman Ella Ordiway was forced to leave the match just 45 seconds in after taking a hard shot. She was able to return, and was one of a number of first-year players Bickling turned to for a big bump in minutes.
“They played hard and gave us some big minutes tonight,” he said.
Meadville (12-4 overall, 9-4 Region 6) controlled possession early in the match, but Warren’s (10-4-1, 9-3) defense prevented the Bulldogs from getting any quality scoring chances.
The first real quality chance went to the Dragons with just over 10 minutes to play in the half. Warren got a turnover at midfield and pushed the ball up to Ordiway on the right side. She brought it in to the offensive zone and sent a crossing pass to Kyra Wotorson outside the left goal post. Wotorson fired far side, but the ball skittered just wide.
“We found the right rhythm for a little bit there,” Bickling said.
Just over five minutes later, the Bulldogs cashed in on a Dragons miscue.
Warren turned the ball over coming out of the defensive zone. The ball found Liz Adams’ foot and Adams was able to just get past the Dragons defense. Keeper Alyssa Anderson came out to challenge, but Adams was able to beat her short side for the lone goal of the match.
“Alyssa is going to clean everything up that comes in from distance,” Bickling said. “She makes good decisions. The only time you’re going to beat her is when it’s 1-v-1.”
Meadville controlled possession through the first 25 minutes of the second half, but the Warren defense, led by Aubriana Navaroli, Emily Egger and Lennon Daily, clamped down and only allowed long range shots.
“They’ve assumed a lot of pressure,” Bickling said of his defense. “They’re forced to play the ball more often. They’re under pressure to keep us in it and fix mistakes. They played great.”
The Dragons got loose a couple times late in the half, but were unable to get anything past keeper Riley Olson.
“This game really means nothing,” Bickling said. “We could see them again in the playoffs. They could stand between us and a chance at the District 10 title. We should have (MJ) back in a week. In the long run, this is good for us.”
Warren hosts Oil City Saturday.