On tough days, a goalkeeper might be content to get off the field having conceded only two goals.
Through eight games, though, Bearden senior Abby Mink and junior Maggie Jones have allowed only two goals in the entire season.
Coach Ryan Radcliffe thinks this is a result of her hard work through her four years at Bearden.
“Her talent is unquestionable, and accompany that with her being an experienced 4-year starter and varsity player, she has really stepped up and become that x-factor behind our back line,” Coach Radcliffe said. “I think her start that she has had is a culmination of the mentality she has taken into every game and the culmination of the work she has put in for us over the past three years.”
The Lady Bulldogs will look for more clean sheets this weekend when they travel to Memphis to play in the Memphis Rivals Tournament.
Bearden’s first game will be against Collierville at 7 p.m. on Friday. They will follow that game up on Saturday against ECS at 2 p.m. and on Sunday against Houston at 10 a.m.
Although Mink and Jones may be key factors in the defense’s success, Mink credits much of her success to the defenders in front of her.
“Our defense this year, especially our center-backs Abby McCord and Kendall Scott are very good in the middle; they do a very good job,” Mink said. “Our outside-backs Grace Roddy and Emma Daniels do a really good job of shutting it down and giving me shots that are manageable.”
Bearden is 6-1-1 on the season so far, and Coach Radcliffe thinks they can continue to win if their defense continues to play at the same level they have been playing.
“Ultimately, defensive success is going to play a vital role in how far we make it through the postseason,” Coach Radcliffe said. “The players have to take pride in what they do every time they step on the field, much like Abby and Maggie have done for us in these first (eight) games.
“It is easy to find ways to win games when you know your defense and goalkeepers are going to keep a zero on the scoreboard for the other team.”
Jones said she has just one simple goal going into games.
“Continue to keep shutting teams out,” Jones said.