By Ken Lay
A stellar effort from a senior goalkeeper helped the Bearden High School girls soccer team punch its ticket to this week’s Class AAA State Tournament in Murfreesboro.
It will be the second consecutive trip to the Midstate for the Lady Bulldogs.
Bearden knocked off a familiar foe to continue its season when it knocked off Hardin Valley Academy 3-0 Saturday night at Turner-Allender Field.
Lady Bulldogs senior netminder Maggie Jones kept the Lady Hawks at bay all night and made 12 point-blank saves in the second half.
“She played her butt off tonight,” said Bearden assistant coach Ally Hale, who is coaching the Lady Bulldogs (18-4-1) while head coach Ryan Radcliffe is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a pending school issue. “I’m proud of her. I’m proud of all of our girls.
“I’ve been getting in her face and telling her that today is the day that Maggie Jones plays her best game.”
Well, Hale and the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t have as for much more from Jones.
Just ask first-year Lady Hawks coach Jessie Stephens, who saw her season come to an end.
“You just have to her,” said Stephens, who guided the Lady Hawks to a 12-8-3 record in her first season. “We wanted to come out after halftime and put pressure on [Jones] and make her work.
“We did that and we had our chances. But she worked.”
Despite being shut out, The Lady Hawks, who shared the District 4-AAA regular-season championship with Maryville (which knocked off Science Hill to punch its own ticket to Murfreesboro), outshot the Lady Bulldogs 14-9 in the match.
“I was really feeling the pressure,” said Jones, who faced only two quality shots over the opening 40 minutes. “But it feels great to make it back to state. It’s a dream come true.”
Abby Brewer gave the Lady Bulldogs a 1-0 lead when she pushed a shot past HVA senior goalkeeper Taylor Mauck in the 27th minute.
The Lady Bulldogs extended their advantage to 2-0 when Brewer, a junior forward, scored her second marker of the match (and 28th of the 2018 campaign) in the 55th minute. Emily Carlevato picked up an assist on the game’s second goal.
Carlevato closed out the scoring when she converted a penalty kick after the Lady Hawks were called for a handball in the goal box in the 59th minute.
In Class AA: Seymour will make its second consecutive state tournament appearance thanks to a 5-0 victory over Central in Sevier County Saturday morning.
Tyler Taft scored twice for the Lady Eagles against the Lady Bobcats, who dropped a second straight state sectional game Seymour, which edged Central in Fountain City in 2017.
The Lady Eagles also got tallies from Addie Biddle, Anna Pendleton and Emily Glaspie.
Meanwhile at Catholic, the Lady Irish saw their season come to a bitter end with a 2-1 loss to Greeneville Saturday afternoon at Blaine Stadium. The Lady Greene Devils, who reached the Class AA Championship Game last year, picked up goals from Emily Graham and Kenly Wilhoit midway through the second half.
Ellie Wolski scored for the Lady Irish.
In Division II-A: Christian Academy of Knoxville lost to Christ Presbyterian Academy 6-0 in a State VIII Match in Nashville.
The Lady Warriors (11-10) won eight of their last 10games after getting off a 3-8 start in 2018.