Lady Bulldogs soccer preview

BHS junior Taylor Cross (21) versus Karns in a recent jamboree in downtown Knoxville.
KNOXVILLE — Bearden High School’s girls soccer team made it to the Class AAA State Tournament in 2017, for the first time in several years, after knocking off Kingston Pike rival Farragut in the sectional playoffs.

“I have high expectations for this team,” said BHS coach Ryan Radcliffe, who begins his fifth season as girls coach at his alma mater. “But they made it to state for the first time in a while, so I think they have high expectations for themselves.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who moved to District 2-AAA in 2017, compiled an overall 13-6-2 record while winning the district tournament with relative ease before posting a runner-up finish in the Region 1-AAA Tournament.

However, “It’s different this year. We have a younger team, but the newer players are working hard,” said junior forward Abby Brewer, who was a top sniper for Bearden last season.

“We want to go back to state but we have to reach the small goals first,” said senior midfielder Emily Carvelato, who has started for the Lady Bulldogs since her freshman season.

Other key veterans include Taylor Cross (junior, forward), Abby McCord (a senior defender who is the only returner on Bearden’s back line), Maggie Jones (a senior goalkeeper who will start exclusively this year), Hailey Cartt (a junior midfielder, who has emerged as an undisputed leader during preseason workouts) and Hannah Wilson (junior, midfielder).

Key newcomers include defenders Carley Scott, a junior, and sister, freshman Kailyn Scott.

“We’ll have some depth and the strength of our team will be in the middle of the field,” Radcliffe said.

“I’ll also be looking to find some scoring,” he added. “I’ll need to find a consistent scorer.”

However, “We have a very strong freshman class, and at least one or two of those freshmen will start,” Radcliffe said.

“The last really big freshman class I had was the seniors who just graduated.

“A key to our success will be how quickly our freshmen grow up.”