Warren boys soccer team plays Prep tough in opening loss

Last year’s Warren Dragons boys soccer team lost to Cathedral Prep amidst an 0-7 start to the season.

After a very tough non-region schedule, Warren improved dramatically – finishing 5-2-1 as the top Class AA team out of Region 4, advancing all the way to the District 10 Class AA championship game, as well as advancing to states.

Warren lost to Class AAA Prep again to start this season, but the Dragons’ experience showed on Saturday in a 3-0 loss at War Memorial Field. The Dragons battled to a 0-0 tie until Prep scored first with 13:41 left in the 80-minute contest, and broke through with a second goal three minutes later.

“I’m happy with our overall performance – not with the result – but I’m happy with the overall performance,” said Warren coach Tom Harrington, whose Dragons open the Region 4 schedule at Corry on Wednesday. “We played hard. We played even with them for the first half of the game.”

Warren was without two or three potential starters – two due to injury – and was “a little short on depth,” said Harrington. “When we get healthy, we will be right with anybody.”

Warren played well offensively and defensively, and Harrington said in an earlier interview that the Dragons have nine “experienced starters” this season as compared to two last season.

Prep had a tremendous scoring opportunity 15 minutes into the first half, appearing to beat Warren goalie Clark Eason, but Prep also appeared to take out defender Simon Smith en route and the goal was nullified.

Again, with about 10 minutes left in the half, Prep had another tremendous scoring chance, but Mitch Dorunda slid to block a close-range shot.

While Prep had pressured Warren the last 15 minutes of the first half, it was the Dragons who opened the second half with renewed energy.

With just four minutes left in the first half, Warren goalie Clark Eason kept the game scoreless with a nice save in traffic on a free kick.

Warren had a solid chance on a free kick to open the second half, but Bryce Bauer couldn’t quite convert on a pass with Quinn Boger near goal. Dorunda had a shot blocked two minutes later.

When Prep broke away from the pressure five minutes into the second half, Joey Close’s slide tackle broke up the chance.

Warren senior Jason Tipton soon after was a tick off beating the Prep goalie to the ball and the game stayed scoreless. A Tipton pass to Boger at 26:40 nearly worked. Two minutes later, Boger’s pass to Smith set up a line drive shot that was blocked by a Prep defender 15 yards out. Bauer also had a chance at 24:04, this was deeper from the left side, but also blocked.

Prep’s Antonio Simora started to take over, as Warren’s Eason made a nice save on a Simora breakaway at 19:31 left in the game. Twenty seconds later, Eason felt the pressure again with a save off a corner kick.

Simora put Prep on the board at 13:41, off a nice lead pass from Tommy Russo; Simora beat his defender and kicked the ball in the left side of the net from 20 yards out. After Russo had another solid chance that Eason saved, he gave Prep a 2-0 lead off an assist from Simora within three minutes of the first goal.

Simora would have two more scoring chances that missed, but Prep’s depth was starting to show.

Warren’s Max Gross thwarted a third goal with a steal at 4:15 20 yards from goal.

Sammy Tojaga easily scored Prep’s final goal with just three seconds left in the match. Much more close to being even in the first half, the Ramblers unofficially outshot Warren 15-5 for the match. Ollie Wiesner was the shutout goalie.