The opening round of the District 5-AAA Soccer Tournament will feature a rematch of Monday night’s exciting 1-0 battle between Bradley Central and Cleveland but the match won’t be played in Bradley County.
Since the Bears finished as the fourth seed they won the right to host the opening round but since the BCHS pitch is not regulation size they won’t be able to play the match there.
After much discussion and possible alternatives were discussed, the decision was made to play the match at McMinn County’s field Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
Bradley coach Tucker Blackman didn’t want to give the Blue Raiders the home field advantage by switching the match to the Greater Cleveland Soccer Complex, and since Ooltewah has a home match of its own and the top-seeded Cherokees have a bye, the choice to move the match to Athens was made.
Blackman will be able to drive the Bears to the match but not be on the sideline during the action after getting red-carded in Wednesday’s match against Ooltewah.
After tying Signal Mountain 2-2 Thursday night to end the regular season, Bradley is 7-3-3 and 3-3 in district matches. Cleveland handed East Hamilton just its second loss of the year Thursday evening and finished with a 5-6-4 mark, going 2-2-2 in the 5-AAA play.
In other opening round matches Saturday, seventh-seeded Walker Valley will travel to No. 2 Soddy-Daisy for a 7 p.m. start. Third-seeded Ooltewah (7-5-1, 4-2) will play host to No. 6 Rhea County at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday’s winner’s will advance to the semifinals Tuesday with the Bradley-Cleveland victor traveling back to Athens to face No. 1 McMinn County at 7 p.m. The Soddy-Walker Valley winner will take on the Ooltewah-Rhea victor.
The district championship match is slated for Thursday evening at the home of the higher seed.