Lady Soccer Dogs hoping to continue winning tradition

The Lady Soccer Dogs are a team with a winning tradition. They won back-to -back state championships in 2007 and 2008, finished with a record of 19-3-0 (8-1 in district) in 2009, and ended up 21-2-3 (9-1 in district) last season. So what about this season? The 2011 Bearden girls soccer team started their season off with three straight wins over Siegel, Dobyns Bennett, and Maryville; their most recent outing was a 2-2 draw with CAK on Wednesday. The Lady Bulldogs have come into this season with All-State players Rebecca Stover and Kristi Granger leading their team. “This year, we are really counting on [Granger] to ease the scoring burden,” said Bearden head coach Eric Turner, who has to figure out how to replace the goals provided for four years by his daughter Sam Turner, the program’s all-time leading scorer. Jessica Logan and Ana Aponte, who are also seniors, are also expected to be big contributors this year. “(Logan) is going to be the one that is going to dictate our play in the middle,” Coach Turner said. Despite the Bulldogs success this early in the season, they have had a few setbacks including their depth and young players. “It’s just defense and just trying to get together and plugging a lot of new players in,” Coach Turner said. These new players include sophomores Katie Cottrell at goalkeeper, Mallory Denning on defense, and Joanna Logan playing in the midfield. “We know that there are going to be bumps in the road,” Turner said. “We’ve just got to roll with them and learn to get better and stay healthy because we are not very deep.” With the goal of being state champions always in the minds of the Lady Bulldogs, the girls went through two and three-a-days throughout July. “This is the hardest we have ever run in my four years at Bearden,” said Logan, who was injured all of last season. Besides the numerous practices, games, and tournaments, the Lady Bulldogs surprisingly have time for team building trips like the one they took to Hilton Head this past summer. The trip included memorable skit nights with crazy themes like a Night Safari. “We are just a silly group of girls,” Granger said. Bearden continues its season Friday at 9:30 p.m. against Germantown as part of the five-day Bearden Invitational. The Lady Bulldogs also play Karns on Saturday at 7 p.m. “Each player has something that they are individually good at and we have so many diverse players,” Logan said. “We could be really good if we tried and as the season goes, we could surprise a lot of people.”