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Lady SoccerDawgs repeat
BHS girls’ late goal wins 2nd state title


After receiving a tough draw in the state tournament seeding, the Bearden Lady SoccerDawgs breezed through the competition and came out with its second Class AAA state championship in two years. Bearden defeated Collierville for the second year in a row in the final with a 2-1 win Saturday, Nov. 3 at Girls Preparatory School.

With the closing minutes winding down and a 1-1 tie, Bearden freshman Samantha Turner took a pass from Kate Beil and gave the BHS (23-2-1) the goal it needed to come away with the win.

Collierville scored about five minutes into the game to put the Lady Dragons (19-1-5) up 1-0.


Bearden’s Amy Porter tied the game at 1-1 with nearly 20 minutes remaining in the half.

“We were fortunate to get out of the first half 1-1,” Bearden head coach Eric Turner said. “Collierville definitely was pumped up. They had 11 seniors that were ready to play and we were kind of on our heels a little bit, but Amy Porter kind of bailed us out. She beat three or four defenders and snuck a goal in based on her individual effort.”

To get to the final the Lady Bulldogs had to get past Houston (18-6) in the quarterfinals and Siegel (17-8-1) in the semifinals.

Bearden defeated Siegel 1-0 Thursday, Nov. 1 at GPS. Senior Jenni Gordon’s second half goal was all the Lady Bulldogs needed to hold on for the win.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over a challenging Houston team Wednesday, Oct. 31 at GPS. It was the second year in a row the two teams were paired in the quarterfinals and maybe it was a good thing for Bearden.

“That game was a total group effort and I think that was the best game we played,” Turner said.

Gordon scored three minutes into the second half on an assist from Turner for the first goal of the game. Senior Sara Rochester added the second goal with 29:20 to play. After Houston tied it with 16:02 left, Bearden freshman Caroline Gianeselli scored the final goal with 3:41 left to play on an assist from Porter.

Unlike 2006, this Bearden team has a lot of new faces.

“Last year’s team we had a lot of good seniors and a lot of good juniors and we sprinkled in a couple freshman,” Turner said. “The seniors and juniors pretty much carried the team for us. This year we had so many key positions to fill.

“We didn’t know what our defense was going to be like because it’s all new players without the exception of Tessa [Bachelor] in the back and Sarah Canter. We had some injuries early so our freshmen had to step up and produce in the back and then also produce up top.”

As for experience, “I cannot say enough about our seniors that were around, especially our captains Jenni Gordon and Sara Rochester,” Turner said. “For a lot of teams that kind of tears teams apart but they did a great job making sure we were a team.

“Lindsey Pompilio, our other senior, was very vocal during the year and she did a great job of making sure everyone knew what they had to do,” the BHS coach added, “and what the expectations were for the program even though we had a lot of new players stepping in.”

Gordon had a big decision to make four years ago.

“I was not supposed to go to Bearden, we moved,” she said. “I was moving for soccer going into high school. I had the choice between going to Bearden or Farragut. I chose Bearden because I had heard so many great things about the program ...

“The Bearden soccer program is the best soccer program I have ever been involved in,” she added. “To win state junior and senior year is just the perfect way to end a great career at Bearden.”

For senior goalkeeper Canter, the story was different. She never played soccer before junior year when she was talked into trying out for the team by then goalkeeper Sarah Himmelreich.

“Sarah Himmelreich told me to and I was like, ‘I don’t want to play, I am not going to play soccer,’ but I am glad I played,” Canter said. “I never expected to win a state championship in soccer, so it’s a great feeling.”

Having won back-to-back titles is hard to grasp, especially with two teams that were so different.

“I think we really earned it and we played really well especially with having some young players,” Canter said. “Not a lot of people expected us to do it the first time, and I’m sure not a lot of people expected us to do it again. I think we really earned the respect of a lot of people.”

 

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