The Bearden girls soccer team clinched the region title Thursday night with a 3-0 win over Science Hill, clinching home field advantage for sectionals on Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs host Hardin Valley at 7 p.m. with a trip to the state tournament on the line. The first 50 students to arrive at the sectional game on Saturday will receive a free “Pack the House” T-shirt.
“This season has definitely been one for the books,” assistant coach Ally Hale said. “From injuries to having a large freshman class with a number of girls who are capable of playing, we’ve had a lot of moments where we were just simply trying to put the pieces together.”
Despite the eventful season, the girls have remained focused on their goals.
“The passion and will to succeed that I’ve seen out of these girls within the last month has been amazing,” Coach Hale said.
It’s also clear to the players how much they have grown over the season.
“We became a team over the season, at the beginning it was just a bunch of individual players getting touches on the ball, but now we’re a team,” said Taylor Cross, who has provided another great scoring option for Bearden this year.
The growth and change means that players must step up for the team to succeed, and Cross has been one of those players to step up.
“Seeing Taylor develop into one of our leading scorers and leading the team with assists has been amazing,” Coach Hale said. “She’s got the drive and determination that we need from a center forward.”
Cross’s teammates have recognized her emergence as a leader as well.
“I definitely think Tayler has come into more of a leadership role,” leading scorer Abby Brewer said. “She knows where midfield needs to be, and she knows where the forwards need to be, so she communicates to all of us and tells us all what we need to do.”
The Lady Bulldogs are sure to use all they’ve learned this season against the Lady Hawks on Saturday. Bearden won the first meeting against HVA 2-0 in the season opener, but the stakes were not nearly as high back in August.
“None of us are ready for the season to end any time soon, especially our seniors, so we have to come out and play that way,” Coach Hale said.