Murphy breaks goal-scoring record, as Lady Bulldogs approach postseason play


Photo courtesy of Tammy Kregel

Brinley Murphy jumps into the air before kickoff in a game earlier this year. The senior striker is now the program’s all-time leading scorer with 97 career goals.

In the 19th minute of Bearden’s 5-0 win over Greenville on Tuesday night, Brinley Murphy scored the goal that opened up the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs.

Considering Bearden’s dominance this season, that wouldn’t have been that remarkable on its own.

It was the 94 goals Murphy scored before that one that made this one so significant.

Murphy’s hat trick Tuesday night represented her 95th, 96th, and 97th goals in her Bearden career, taking her past Sam Turner’s 94 as the program’s all-time leading scorer.

“The record has been a goal of mine since my freshman year, but never something that I thought I would be able to achieve in my time here,” Murphy said. “But my teammates talked to me about it a lot in the offseason, and that really motivated me to pursue it this season.” 

The South Carolina commit and 2021 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year has been a varsity starter since her freshman year.

The Lady Bulldogs hope to finish the regular season undefeated as they host Science Hill on Thursday night at 7 in their final regular season game before postseason play starts.

“Coach [Ryan] Radcliffe has definitely been a major factor in my development as a player,” she said. “Coming into my freshman year, I was big and strong, but not very smart in the way that I played. 

“He taught me how to play smarter.”

Coach Radcliffe loves the work ethic that Murphy has and how she is always looking to get better through coaching.

“Brinley works harder than others, and she is always looking to be coached and get better,” Coach Radcliffe said. “An exceptional thing about Brinley is that she is at the top of her level, but she is never satisfied with her performances. 

“She always wants to know what can be better, and I think that speaks volumes about her.” 

Coach Radcliffe has gotten to witness not only Murphy’s technical development during her time at Bearden, but also the leadership skills she has gained, particularly in her role as captain.

“Brinley leads by example, which I think is super important for the team,” Coach Radcliffe said. “You’re not going to see Brinley up in someone’s face yelling at them, but the team is going to be inspired to work harder when they see their best players working incredibly hard in practice.”

As the postseason gets closer, Murphy and the rest of the seniors’ time at Bearden shrinks with each game played. Murphy, who scored in Bearden’s 3-1 win over Houston in last year’s state championship game, hopes that her class can depart the Bearden soccer program with another state championship title on their resumes.

“I think that our class will leave behind a massive legacy here at Bearden because of all the shutouts, wins, goals scored, and titles that we have been able to win,” she said. “I am extremely honored to have the goal record, but it is something that I never would have achieved without this group of girls around me.”

Coach Radcliffe, Murphy, and the rest of the 2022 Lady Bulldogs hope to add one more main thing to the resume as the season comes to a close.

Back-to-back state titles.

But she’s also got 100 goals in her sights now.