Red-hot Bearden District 2-AAA champs after blanking Knox West 2-0 in title game

KNOXVILLE — Zneyah McLaughlin plays every soccer game like it may be her last.

“We didn’t know what this season was going to hold for us with (COVID-19) and everything going on in the world,” said McLaughlin, a senior forward for Bearden High School’s girls soccer team who scored a goal to help lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 2-0 victory over Knoxville West (11-5-2) in the District 2-AAA Tournament championship match Thursday, Oct. 15, at BHS’s Turner-Allender Field.

The goal by McLaughlin, who also plays basketball for the Lady Bulldogs, helped propel BHS (17-1-0) to its fourth consecutive District 2-AAA Tournament championship. Bearden has not lost a district regular-season or tournament match since joining the league in 2017.

However, “We don’t play to win district championships. The district championship is great and it’s nice. It’s part of the process. You want to win it because you want to have home field throughout the region playoffs,” Ryan Radcliffe, Lady Bulldogs head coach, said.

“I like the way that we fought through adversity tonight and I like the way that we’ve fought through adversity all year,” he added.

Bearden, which outshot the Lady Rebels 18-1, took a 1-0 lead when sophomore forward Brinley Murphy headed home a corner kick from Becca Roth in the 22nd minute.

McLaughlin’s goal was an insurance marker. She took a pass from Jordan Hellman and scored in the 71st minute.