Bearden girls soccer wins its second consecutive state title, winning streak at 47

Ryan Radcliffe has led Bearden girls soccer for nine seasons and each year he asks the Bulldogs the same question.

“I challenge every group that I have every year, what kind of legacy are you going to leave at Bearden?” said Radcliffe.

He said this year’s team he will remember as “history makers.”

Bearden won its second consecutive TSSAA Class AAA State Championship after defeating Houston 3-1 in CHI Memorial Stadium in Chattanooga. This is the second time in program history Bearden has won back-to-back state titles — the first time was in 2006-07.

And did it with a perfect record.

Bearden (24-0) for the second straight time beat Houston (18-1-1) in the championship game as well. The Bulldogs now have a 47-game win streak over two seasons.

“It takes a team that believes, a team that trusts each other, a team that loves each other,” said Radcliffe on the winning streak. “I think this is a group that is going to leave a mark for a long time … ultimately sit there and compare themselves to say that they’re one of the best teams that only just come out of Bearden but they could arguably say that they’re the best team to come out of Knoxville in a long, long time.”

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A Bearden penalty kick that was spawned by a foul in the box drawn by Breana Mendoza foul was drilled by junior Rylie Lucas through the left part of the net with 17:02 left in the first half.

Bearden made it 2-0 on an exhilarating goal from senior forward and leading goal-scorer Brinley Murphy at the 23:42 minute mark of the second half.

The goal was initiated by junior Alivia Stott, who passed it to streaking sophomore Jayla Blue who attempted a shot with just a single defender in her vicinity that went off the top of the post. The missed shot remained in the box where Murphy swooped in for the rebound from the left side.

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“It was a classic Brinley goal, just working hard,” Radcliffe said. “Brinley doing what she’s done for the past four years, just willing to do the extra work.”

Murphy had five goals in this year’s state tournament and was the Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year last year. She is committed to South Carolina and was named PrepXtra Girls Soccer Player of the Year and PrepXtra Girls Athlete of the Year last year.

Mendoza gave Bearden a 3-0 advantage. The junior prevented two clear attempts by Houston and took possession of the ball. She kicked the ball past the goalie with 15 minutes left.

Radcliffe said he is blessed to have coached this team and hopes they memorialize this moment.

“I can’t say that there was a point when this group didn’t do what we asked them as coaches,” Radcliffe said. “ As the coach, you just hope that they’ll remember this moment for the rest of their lives.”

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Bearden girls soccer wins its second consecutive state title


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