For two stright nights the Bradley Central Bearettes have taken to the soccer pitch for back-to-back District 5-AAA matches, both of which have been shutouts.
Wednesday night the Bearettes came out on the wrong side of the “clean sheet,” falling 5-nil to McMinn County’s Lady Cherokees.
But, there is no rest for the weary as the team was forced to pick itself up and dust itself off to play host again, this time to Rhea County Thursday evening.
A second straight shutout was in order, but this time it was Bradley who claimed the victory as it clipped the Lady Eagles’ wings for a 4-nil showing.
The Bearette offense controlled much of the possession during the first half of play, peppering the Rhea goal early and often with quality shots on goal.
Caley Jones was the first to come inches from putting Bradley on the board. Winning a foot race out of midfield, Jones powered to the goal and put the shot attempt off the woodwork and then pushed the rebound attempt well wide to end the threat.
Bradley’s one-two punch of Monse Rincon and Alexia Hubbard struck paydirt in the 25th minute when the pair hooked up in the Rhea penalty area. Rincon found the open Hubbard, who in turn found the back of the net for Bradley Central’s first score.
Three minutes later Jones found Hubbard with a cross, but the resulting attempt went just wide of the far post.
With four minutes left in the first half Jones and Hubbard got a second chance. Jones’ pass found Hubbard who then fought off the Rhea County defense and put a solidly struck ball in the back of the net, putting Bradley up 2-nil before the end of the half.
Yet, it was a defensive play that stole the spotlight. In the closing seconds of the first half Rhea’s attack was knocking on the door. A diving save on a first shot attempt had moved Bradley’s keeper out of position. A rebound volley followed that was only stopped by a diving Mikala Ard, saving the goal and preserving the shutout.
Bradley’s second knockout combo was on display in the second half as Haley Yarber twice found Jones for scores to put the Bearettes up 4-nil before the match came to a close.
“Tonight we worked hard and scored some good team goals. We were much stronger defensively than we have been in previous matches,” stated Bearette head coach Tiffany Walker.
“Rhea’s goalkeeper played really well. But, it’s always nice to get a district win and even nicer to have the shutout,” she elaborated.
Up next, Bradley will travel to Ooltewah on Tuesday for its third of four straight district matches. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30.