Down early, Bradley orchestrated a three goal second half to blank two early Lady Mustang goals and take the soccer match by a final of 3-2.
“This was a good experience for them, coming from behind. Those games are valuable experience and are a better win for the team,” stated Bradley coach Tiffany Walker.
“We got what we deserved,” said Lady Mustang Coach Tom Bayliss. “I hate to say it that way. We got two goals early. We didn’t really earn them. They just kind of fell for us. Our girls got complacent and settled. I’d say at best we played a really good game of kickball.”
Both teams came out flat in the first half, according to their coaches. Walker Valley was able to take advantage of the mutual lapse in concentration and scored twice with junior Riley Kralik hitting a free kick and senior Jamiee Moreland putting the team’s second score through.
“The first half we were not ourselves. The second half we had a couple girls step up and it brought some intensity and energy of our team up and we put some goals away,” Walker explained.
A back-and-forth melee ensued for the rest of the half with neither side gaining any momentum and frustration clearly visible by both coaches and players on the pitch.
“Neither team ever gained possession of the ball. It was just a ‘kickfest.’ A lot of people were just flying around without purpose,” Bayliss said.
Play all throughout the game was highly physical, and the Lady Mustangs were shown three yellow cards on the evening for encroachment, persistence and a tactical foul.
“It was scrappy. It was a little ugly, but in the end everything went our way,” stated Walker.
The Bearettes came out of the half looking revitalized and seven minutes into the half freshman Caley Jones found the back of the Walker Valley net.
Jones and the Bradley Squad then slowly turned the tide of the game
“I’ve got to give it to Bradley. They didn’t quit, even after a rough first half. The second half you could tell they wanted to win,” said Bayliss.
Jones scored twice more, once in the 71st minute and icing the match in the final minute of play to get her hat trick and the win.
The Bearettes are in action again Friday taking on Ooltewah and finish district play against Soddy-Daisy Tuesday.
Walker Valley will host Rhea County Thursday for their final home game of the season. The start time has been moved to 5:30 to account for earlier loss of light.