VINCENT - Sometimes, quality scoring chances can be hard to find.
And sometimes when they appear, they can be thwarted away by a goalkeeper playing at the top of his game.
It's in those games, that the smallest of miscues can become the storyline of advancing in soccer's postseason, or heading home.
KEVIN PIERSON Special to The Times
Warren's Sam Goodman (16) battles Jackson's Brandon Ghearing (17) for control of the ball during the first half of a sectional tournament soccer match in Vincent Tuesday. Warren won 3-0.
Provided with a pair of early defensive breakdowns, the Warren Warriors capitalized with all the offense they'd need as Warren took a 3-0 victory over the visiting Jackson Ironmen in a sectional tournament game in Vincent Tuesday night.
"We finished some opportunities. Their keeper had a great game, definitely kept them in it," said Warren boys' soccer coach Andrew Johnson.
The Warriors found plenty of chances to fire shots on goal, but just three times were they able to get past Jackson goalkeeper Chandler Fout.
Warren 3, Jackson 0
Jackson 0 0 - 0
Warren 2 1 - 3
1 Warren, Nate Robinson (Ty Kroner), 20th minute; 2 Warren, Kroner (Wyatt Lynch), 23rd minute
3 Warren, Sam Goodman (Kroner), 42nd minute
Goalkeepers (saves/att): Jackson (Chandler Fout) 9/12; Warren (Cody Stanley) 4/4
Shots: Jackson 6; Warren 20
Shots on goal: Jackson 4; Warren 12
Corners: Jackson 1; Warren 4
Fouls: Jackson 13, Warren 13
Yellow cards: Miller, Jackson, 24th minute; Duff, Warren, 28th minute; Riegel, Jackson, 49th minute
And two of those came off defensive letdowns by the Ironmen, which led to two of the few real quality scoring chances for either team in the defensive-minded game.
"We made a couple of hesitant mistakes and things like that, that they really took advantage of," said Jackson boys' soccer coach Lee Lord.
The first of those few defensive mistakes by either squad, came in the 20th minute of play when Warren senior Ty Kroner turned a direct kick into a smooth shot at the net for Nate Robinson.
Warren sophomore Aaron Mazurkiewicz took the direct kick, which Kroner deflected to Robinson who raced past the Ironmen defenders to chip a shot over the out-stretched arms of Fout for a 1-0 Warrior lead.
Less than three minutes later, Kroner gave the Warriors a 2-0 advantage as he took a long pass from Wyatt Lynch off a throw-in and deposited it into the far corner in the 23rd minute of play.
After that goal, the defense's became the star of the show, with neither team managing much success in the opponent's defensive third.
Warren fired 12 shots against Fout while the Ironmen took just four against Warren netminder Cody Stanley, who guided the Warriors to their second straight shutout victory.
"Two shutouts in a row shows improvement (defensively)," Johnson said. "We played great team defense."
Staked to the quick 2-0 lead, the Warriors wouldn't get another shot past Fout until the 42nd minute of play.
Again, Kroner figured into the equation as he corralled the ball in the box, spun away from a Jackson defender and made a picture-perfect pass to Sam Goodman, who promptly fired a shot past the Ironmen netminder to set the final score.
"They (Warren) moved the ball better than we did and they attacked the ball better than we did," Lord said.
Despite their shots, the Warriors were able to muster only a handful of real quality chances.
In the 51st minute, Fout thwarted Warren's effort at a fourth goal when he made a diving stop on a shot by Robinson in the box after he received a cross from Greyson Cantley.
That would prove to be the last time either team seriously threatened the scoreboard, as Warren closed out the victory to improve to 11-2-4 on the season.
Warren now advances to Saturday's sectional final where they'll face the Marietta Tigers. Marietta beat Athens 2-1 to advance to Saturday's game, which will be played in Vincent.
"I'm just glad we won the game. Now it's time to focus on the next one," Johnson said.