At one point during Wednesday’s match between Bradley Central and Hixson, the Bearettes were able to boast a 4-0 lead over the Lady Wildcats.
In the final 20 minutes of the makeup match, Hixson went on a scoring run that was able to keep the Bearettes on their toes until a last-minute goal by Astrid Pineda solidified a 6-5 victory for them.
“In that first half we were a little more composed and ready, but Hixson came alive in the second. It surprised us and we had to sort that out — we did good answering,” Bearettes coach Chrissy McKinney explained. “They were really punching at us harder than they did in the first half. Hixson is a pretty decent team, and we were as evenly matched as the score reflects.”
Despite the high numbers posted on the scoreboard, the first half only boasted one goal.
In the 30th minute, Haley Yarber was able to break the scoring stalemate, giving Bradley a 1-0 lead going into the half.
Shortly after the second half began, Caley Jones added a second goal to the Bearettes’ side of the scoreboard.
In a span of four minutes, Yarber was able to knock in two additional goals past the Hixson keeper.
The Lady Wildcats didn’t allow Bradley’s four-goal lead to last long, as they were able to score their first goal not even a minute after Yarber’s last.
That lone goal was enough to ignite a flurry of Hixson goals in the final 20 minutes of the match.
In the 64th minute another Lady Wildcat shot found the back of the goal which was followed up with a third goal six minutes later.
Yarber scored her fourth and final goal in the 72nd minute, giving the Bearettes a cushioned, 5-3 lead.
A penalty kick a couple minutes later by Hixson once again cut Bradley’s lead to just one.
The Lady Wildcats knocked in another goal in the 77th minute, tying up the match at 5-5.
Having seen their lead dwindle into a high-scoring tie, the Bearettes’ last hopes of coming away with a win fell to the shoulders of Pineda, who found herself on a breakaway with the ball.
Seeing the ball through, Pineda blasted in the game-winning goal for Bradley in the last 60 seconds of play.
Coach McKinney was quick to commend the efforts of sophomore keeper Emilie Bryant after the match, after she got her first start of the season with junior keeper Tara Blackwell out due to injury.
The Bearettes begin District 5-AAA play next Tuesday, when they host county rivals Walker Valley.
“I told the girls that we can never let another team’s desire to win be greater than ours. We have to come to the field on our best game, wanting it more than them,” McKinney stated. “Walker Valley has quite a bit of talent to work with this year, and I’m sure they will give us a good run.”
BEARETTES 6, LADY WILDCATS 5
Halftime score: 1-0 (BC). Goals: Haley Yarber 4, Caley Jones, Astrid Pineda (BC). Assists: Jones 2 (BC). Record: Bradley Central 3-1; Hixson 4-3.