By Ken Lay
Bearden High School’s girls soccer team couldn’t quite leave Hardin Valley Academy with a victory Wednesday night, but the Lady Bulldogs did depart with the 2015 District 4-AAA regular-season championship.
“This has been a long time coming,” Bearden coach Ryan Radcliffe said after his team managed to salvage a 2-2 tie against the Lady Hawks on a cool night at HVA. “Our girls lost some games last year and I think they felt like they had something to prove this season.
“It would’ve been great to get a win tonight but we were able to get a tie and the tie was what we needed and Hardin Valley is a great team.
The Lady Bulldogs (11-2-2 overall, 5-0-1 in the district) scored first when Casey Riemer buried a penalty kick in the fourth minute after the Lady Hawks were called for a hand ball in the 18-yard box.
“I was a little nervous,” said Riemer, who also converted a penalty kick in Bearden’s recent victory over Farragut. “I just did what I do in practice.”
Hardin Valley (9-3-2, 4-1-1) pulled even approximately 20 minutes later when Kelsey Klett beat Bearden freshman goalkeeper Abby Mink on a direct free kick.
Both teams had plenty of chances but Mink and Hardin Valley goalkeeper Bridgette Sartorelli made some stellar saves.
The game remained knotted 1-1 until the 70th minute when Riemer took a pass from Abbie Crawford and promptly put a shot past Sartorelli.
HVA, which had a chance to win on the game’s final play and force a three-way tie with the Lady Admirals and Bearden, tied the game in the 72nd minute when sophomore Macy Lindsey scored the equalizer.
The Lady Hawks could’ve won without some late-match heroics from Mink, who had arguably her best match of the season.
“Abby did a good job and sometimes, I forget that she’s just a sophomore,” Radcliffe said.
While the Lady Bulldogs locked up the top seed in the upcoming district tournament, Lady Hawks’ coach Mark Patterson said that he was pleased with the draw.
“”We’ve really improved this year and we deserved this,” he said. “I think the season is going pretty well.
“It was a good game for us.”