Bradford Girls Blank Warren

File photo

WARREN, Pa. – Bradford’s defense withheld early pressure to start both halves, and the offense exploded for four second-half goals en route to a 5-0 win at Warren Thursday.

The Owls scored their first two goals thanks to quick transition play after Dragons’ possessions.

“They’ve got quality players and we know it and if you make the mistakes in the wrong part of the field, good players are going to make you pay for it and that’s what happened tonight,” Warren coach Jeremy Bickling said. “I mean mistake after mistake after mistake, and they weren’t bad mistakes but again, with a good team, with good players you’re just not going to get away with it.”

The Dragons controlled possession for most of the first 14 minutes of the first half, but the Owls kept the ball out of the net and turned the field quickly. Marissa Miller brought the ball up the left side, then centered it to Maddie Cowburn. Cowburn found Bella Prince on the right side and she fired to the top corner far side to open the scoring.

That score held to the end of the half, thanks in large part to a key stop by Owls keeper Paige Smith.

Six minutes after Prince’s goal, the Dragons had a golden opportunity after Lennon Dailey fired a long pass up to Georgie Bickling. Bickling got behind the defense and fired to the right post but Smith was able to make a diving stop to keep the ball out of the net.

Warren took control to open the second half, but again, the Owls responded with a transition goal just over five minutes in.

Emily Prince looped a clearing pass to the center near midfield. Cowburn corraled it and sprinted down the left side then fired a shot just over the hand of Warren keeper Alyssa Andersen for a 2-0 lead.

Cowburn’s second goal of the match came as she fired from a sharp angle on the right side and just tucked it in the left post with just over 18 minutes left to play.

Bella Prince got her second of the match with 5:57 to go after Bradford got a corner kick. The corner went to the middle and bounced off of several players before Bella Prince was able to put it in the net.

Her third goal came just 16 seconds later and closed out the scoring.

Cowburn added three assists to her two goals, while Morgan had two assists. Smith had six saves to record the shutout.

Despite the score, Jeremy Bickling said these are the types of late-season games that can get his team ready for postseason action.

“These are great matches for us I mean, chances are we’ll probably see Bradford again, as a sub-regional for the state playoffs,” Jeremy Bickling said. “So for us, these are great matches, just for the intensity level for the girls to have the stress. Although we don’t like the score. It is a benefit for us to really have a game like this.”

The Dragons will have a day to rest before welcoming undefeated Fort LeBoeuf to War Memorial Field Saturday morning.

“I’m excited to see what we can do to a team this late in the year,” Jeremy Bickling said. “We’ve done it before in the past two or three times taking undefeated teams this late in the year and ruin their season for them so we’re happy to do it for Fort LeBoeuf on Saturday.”