KNOXVILLE —- Bearden High School boys soccer head coach Ryan Radcliffe wasn’t quite sure what to expect when his team took the field, a home game of sorts, against District 4-AAA rival Hardin Valley Academy.
He was concerned because recent rains forced the game to be moved from HVA to Bearden, and the match was later moved from Bruce Allender Field to Bill Young Field [the artifiial turf surface at BHS football stadium].
“I was concerned coming in,” Radcliffe said after his Bulldogs notched a 3-0 victory over the Hawks Thursday, April 6, on a chilly and damp night. “I didn’t know how we were going to react. We had to move the game here and then we had to move it from the grass to the turf. This was just a crazy day. But we came out tonight and we really came in here ready to play.”
The victory was Bearden’s fifth consecutive win after [6-2 overall, 2-0 in District 4-AAA starting the week] a sluggish start, losing two of its first three matches in defense of its 2016 Class AAA state championship.
Bearden took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when Michael Tarantino scored after a pass from Will Lewis.
The Hawks [3-3-4. 1-1-2 starting the week] had just two shots on target in the opening half and missed a chance when Tom Sissom fired a direct free kick wide in the 20th minute.
“This is really frustrating because we’re having trouble scoring goals.” Sissom said. “We have a lot of soccer left and hopefully, we’ll start scoring some goals. I thought we played pretty well and I thought we moved the ball pretty well. But Bearden has a good defense,” he added.
Bearden, which outshot the Hawks 8-2 after halftime, went up to 2-0 on a tally by Emre Ucak in the 59th minute. Bearden made it 3-0 when Wilkins scored two minutes later.