Having lost to county rival Walker Valley in a 2-0 match on Tuesday, the Bearettes came away with a much-needed 2-0 win over the Lady Owls on their senior night.
Thursday’s win bumped the team’s record to 8-8 overall.
“We’re 8-8 but we’ll take it,” Bradley head coach Chrissy McKinney stated. “I think Tuesday was kind of like a coming to realization point for us. Tonight (Thursday) we really focused in on what we do and played our game. Of course we had the home field advantage and senior night going in our favor.”
Ooltewah, a team that has faced its own share of struggles this season, started off strong and made Bearettes’ keeper Lydia Brown work hard to keep the Lady Owls off the board.
Both teams were held scoreless until halfway through the first 40 minutes of play when junior Caley Jones, with an assist from Haley Yarber, was able to get the ball past the Lady Owls’ keeper.
Jones’ goal was the only one of the first half, and gave Bradley the lead going into halftime.
At the 73rd minute Jones was able to notch her second goal of the game, which came off of a penalty kick.
The PK goal marked Jones’ 20th of the season. She also had 10 assists.
The Bearettes defense and keeper worked hard to ensure that Ooltewah never saw a piece of the goal-scoring action in the final minutes of play.
“I’m so proud of all the girls, but I’d really like to focus on the seniors. Karina Rosario had the game of her night tonight. Normally she’s just that support player who is just trying to get a piece of the ball, but tonight it all came together,” McKinney commented. “Then you’ve got Megan Howell playing strong out of the back, Emma Brown shutting down everything through the center, Lydia Brown making some incredible saves again and Monse Rincon up top doing her thing and winning those balls and getting the crosses in. I just think that we were banging on all cylinders tonight.”
After this year, coach McKinney will be losing six senior players in total, and knows that their presence will be greatly missed on the field.
“My heart hurts, but thankfully I feel like I have a good relationship with them and will remain in their lives, but losing them from the soccer field will be a big deal,” McKinney said.
According to the coach, there is a chance Bradley could face Cleveland in tournament play, but the Bearettes are still waiting to hear the official word on who their district opponent will be.
In the meantime, it will be business as usual for the “Black-and-Gold.”
“We’ll be busy practicing to get ready for the district tournament,” McKinney commented.
While Bradley is finished with regular season play, Cleveland still has two more matches on the books and Walker Valley still has one final opponent to take on.
The Lady Raiders travel to McMinn Central to take on the Lady Chargers at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, while Walker Valley will venture up the mountain to take on Signal Mountain at 5:30 as well.
Cleveland’s last game and senior night will be next Thursday, as it hosts Grace Baptist at 7 p.m.
BEARETTES 2, LADY OWLS 0
Halftime score: 1-0. Goals: Caley Jones 2. Assists: Haley Yarber. Record: Bradley Central 8-8, 1-5 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 4-9-2, 0-6 District 5-AAA.