A 68-1 edge in goals, 34 straight unbeaten for Bearden

KNOXVILLE — They held a 34-match unbeaten streak entering this week — having not lost since 2020 — and held a 68-1 scoring advantage in 10 matches to begin the 2022 season.

As defending Class AAA state champs, they are No. 1-ranked in the nation.

But despite a 4-0 halftime lead in their final of two Bearden Invitational matches at BHS Saturday evening, Sept. 18 — against the defending Division II-AA state champions from Harpeth Hall — the head coach started his halftime address with criticism.

“I didn’t think the first half was our cleanest half in terms of the way that they were playing against us,” said Ryan Radcliffe, Bearden girls soccer head coach whose team went on to beat Harpeth Hall 9-0 (goal-ruled finish with more than 17 minutes left in the match).

“But when you’ve got some good forwards who can score, I guess even if you’re not playing the greatest soccer, they still find ways,” he added. “We’ve got some special individuals.”

“I think coming out and mercy ruling them is a big statement for us,” said junior Alivia Scott, who scored two goals while adding a pair of assists.

Senior star forward Brinley Murphy finished with a hat-trick, as her three goals makes 87 for her career (18 this season), which tied her for fourth in program history, trailing only Casey Reimer (88), Amy Porter (93) and all-time leader Samantha Turner (94).

Freshman forward Jayla Blue continues to impress, adding two goals Saturday for 16 on the season. She also contributed two assists.

Another standout freshman, Tyler Roth, led in assists with three. Junior Breana Mendoza also booted home two goals.

Add stellar defense and timely saves from Lady Bulldogs senior goalkeeper Peyton Huber, who had a nice diving save late in the first half.

“Peyton doesn’t get a lot of credit because she doesn’t get a lot of shots — you saw the save she made,” Radcliffe said.

Despite having only one defensive starter returning, “I definitely give a lot of credit toward my defense,” Huber said. “… It definitely helps when you communicate with the whole team, that’s how I stay focused” despite facing few opponents’ scoring chances.

Among the top defenders is junior Rylie Lucas. “I think we’re getting a lot better as the season goes along,” she said.