TITUSVILLE, Pa. – Lennon Dailey’s putback on a rebound off a corner kick less than nine minutes into the second half proved to be the game-winner as Warren topped Meadville, 2-1, to win its third straight District 10 Class 3A girls soccer championship Thursday.
With 31:16 remaining, Georgie Bickling took the corner and put the ball to center. It bounced through multiple players and right to Dailey’s foot. Dailey fired a shot top-shelf before Meadville keeper Laci Carlson could react to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead.
“It’s always stressful playing Meadville and today was just another example of what a battle that can be with a team that’s a close rival like they are,” Warren head coach Jeremy Bickling said.
The two teams are no strangers to each other, especially in the postseason where they’ve met in each of the last six seasons.
“We know them very well, it is a rivalry match, regardless of record,” Jeremy Bickling said. “They know us well enough to show up prepared and how to play us.”
Both teams were coming off lengthy layoffs, Warren 10 days and Meadville seven days, and exhibited signs of rust in the early going. The score was tied, 1-1, at the half thanks to own goals by each team.
“(It’s) the first time we’ve been on the field playing in two weeks, we had to shake the rust off, had to get the nerves out and the girls did a nice job,” Jeremy Bickling said. “We had a lot of opportunities in the first half and they only increased it in the second half.”
With just over 18 minutes to play in the half, Warren brought the ball deep into Meadville territory. The Bulldogs’ Brielle Cheney tried to clear a crossing pass intended for Dailey. The ball hit off the side of Cheney’s foot and tucked just inside the goal post to give Warren a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, Meadville had a corner kick. Phoebe Templin took the corner and fired to the near post. Marielle Stanz tried to block the shot, but the ball grazed off her leg and into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
“I’ve seen two own goals in a game before, but never one by each team,” Warren head coach Jeremy Bickling said.
Warren had two golden opportunities to take the lead with less than five minutes in the half, but Carlson made a pair of spectacular saves to keep it tied.
The first was on an indirect free kick. Lauren Andersen looped the ball past the defense and right in front of Dailey. Carlson was able to win a foot race to the ball and made a diving stop just before Dailey could get her foot on it.
Seconds later, Georgie Bickling got the ball on a breakaway and a one-on-one against Carlson. Carlson came out to challenge and made a sliding stop on Bickling’s shot to turn away the chance.
Warren will take on the winner of Monday’s District 9 championship between DuBois and Bradford in a PIAA Subregional. The subregional is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6 at a time and location to be announced.