Bearden girls soccer was ranked the No. 1 team in the country on Tuesday in the United Soccer Coaches final rankings for the fall. The Bulldogs finished the 2022 season undefeated for the second consecutive year and won a second straight TSSAA Class AAA title.
Coach Ryan Radcliffe said learning his team finished atop the rankings was “surreal and surprising,” because last season the team had been ranked first several weeks during the regular season but was not the No. 1 team in the final poll.
“Even though we had held (the top ranking) for the majority of the season, we still didn’t really know what’s going to happen with it,” Radcliffe said about this season. “Ultimately, from my perspective, you can’t control what happens and you don’t really have a big say so because it’s not like it’s a poll where you’re playing other teams. It’s just strictly based off of strength of schedule and overall record.”
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Radcliffe said he believes a “deciding factor” in this year’s ranking was Bearden’s streak of 47 consecutive wins over two seasons.
Bearden will be graduating several seniors, led by Brinley Murphy, last year’s Gatorade Tennessee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She was also PrepXtra Girls Soccer Player of the Year and PrepXtra Girls Athlete of the Year.
Radcliffe said next season will be challenging, but he expects Bearden to continue the dominance of the past two years.
“My mentality is we’re still gonna win every game and that’s part of the process is you’ve got to rebuild and regroup and still find ways to carry that monkey on your back with that ranking,” Radcliffe said. “I think we are a program and we are a group that I as a coach, I’m going to always expect that we can continue having the same results game in game and out and hopefully be the first team to have a three-peat .”