WATERFORD — Once Warren received the foul call, the Dragons had a chance to go for goal from over 30 yards out. Warren head coach Jeremy Bickling knew who’s number to call for the kick. He chose No. 16 Sawyer Mohney, a senior who also played kicker for the Dragons football team this season.
“I actually called the (first) player that went to take (the free kick) off of it, and knew that Sawyer would wind up being able to put that ball in,” said Bickling. “She’s got the range and that was where she was hitting the ball all night long.”
“(Mohney) hit a nice ball,” said Meadville head coach Jim Miller.
Mohney fired the free kick and it sailed through the air all the way into the top right corner of the goal. Meadville goalkeeper Riley Olson reached as far as she could for the ball, but it was out of her reach and hit the twine sparking jubilation from the Dragons.
On Wednesday night at Fort LeBoeuf’s Carm Bonito Field, Warren won its first District 10 girls soccer title by beating Meadville 3-2 in overtime 3-2 in the Class 3A championship game.
“It’s been four years. The girls have really worked hard,” said Bickling. “We knew this was the season we’d have both the talent and the experience to do it. We fought through a lot of injuries and the girls wound up battling even into overtime in the District 10 championship to make it happen.”
Warren moves on to the PIAA tournament while Meadville’s season ends here.
“I feel bad for my seniors, they fought hard,” said Miller. “It has been a great run for them.
“I don’t even know what I’m going to say on the bus.”
Just getting to the moment when Mohney took the long free kick was a rollercoaster ride for both teams. The back-and-forth game started in Warren’s favor.
Meadville had a couple shots early on, but for the rest of the first half it was all Dragons.
Just seven minutes into the game, Warren opened the scoring. Ella Ordiway fired in a cross that found the foot of M.J. Fadale, who tapped the ball past Olson for the 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same due to Meadville’s tough defense. The Bulldogs allowed Warren some shots, but all were either stopped by Olson or sailed safely over the net. Warren outshot Meadville in the first half 12-2.
The second half was a different story for the Bulldogs, who began pressing forward more. The extra push was rewarded less than five minutes into second half.
Alayna Zieziula awaited the corner kick at the back post and when the ball hit her feet, Zieziula wasted no time tucking it in for the 1-1 tie.
“We never quit, we fight,” said Miller. “When life knocks you down, you get back up.”
The Dragons showed little quit either and responded well. 13 minutes later, senior Mikaala Deppen scored off a bad clearance by the Bulldogs. She reacted to the ball landing and tapped it past Olson for the 2-1 lead.
“(Warren) found the open player and boom,” said Miller.
But Meadville needed less than a minute to match things up again. Olivia Savage cut into the middle and received a cross from Kaylee York. Savage fired the shot home and tied things at 2-2.
“There couldn’t have been a better two to get that goal,” added Miller.
Meadville had another great chance with Liz Adams on a breakaway, but she was tripped up en route to goal. Warren was not carded, but Adams did get a free kick. Her shot sailed just over the crossbar.
The Bulldogs then had a corner kick in the final minute, the ball stayed in the box awhile, but eventually the Dragons cleared the danger setting up the dramatics in overtime.
“I’m not going to pull any punches. We consider (Meadville) a pretty serious rival,” said Bickling. “We wanted to beat them pretty darn bad and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to do it here in the finals.”
“We’re going to work in the offseason,” said Miller. “We’ll work, we’ll rebuild.
“There’s just no rest when we’re a program like ours.”
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.