It took Walker Valley eight losses and one tie, but they were finally able to add a match to the win column when they defeated Bradley Central 1-0 Tuesday night at home in what was their final district matchup.
“It was good, we needed that,” Mustang head coach Tom Bayliss said. “I’m proud of our hard work and the effort that we put out.”
The match was a virtual stalemate, with neither the Bears nor the Mustangs able to get anything past their respective goalkeepers.
It wasn’t until roughly 60 minutes into the match that Blayne Carroll was able to get one past the Bradley Central goalie, with the assist coming from Vince Rollins.
“They had a great goalkeeper — we put a ton of shots on frame. We had our chances, that’s just one of the things we’ve had trouble with is getting the ball in the back of the net. Fortunately, one was enough tonight,” Bayliss admitted.
Last week Walker Valley was able to play a close match against Cleveland, ultimately losing 2-0. This week, the Mustangs were able to combine the elements that have been slowly coming together throughout the season and translate them into a much-needed win.
“We played very well against Cleveland, I think we actually played better against Cleveland than we did today (Tuesday). It wasn’t a clean game, but it was a win, so we’ll take it,” Bayliss commented.
Caleb Gruber got his first start of the season in net for the Mustangs and was able to come up with the saves necessary to secure the shutout victory for his team.
Despite having more overall wins under their belt than the Mustangs, the Bears are a team that has struggled to put together match-winning elements this season.
After witnessing his team lose its fourth district match, Bradley Central head coach Tucker Blackmon seemed at a loss for an explanation.
“I’m out of answers. I’m sad. I’m sad about anything you can ever think about being sad about as far as the field goes. Pick a part of the game — effort, finishing, defense — you pick anything, and I’m sad. I’m upset about it.”
The Bears will have a chance to pick the pieces up and get back to work against Chattanooga Central at 6 p.m. Thursday, and district opponent Ooltewah on Friday at 6.
Walker Valley’s next game is at home against Silverdale at 6 p.m.
MUSTANGS 1, BEARS 0
Halftime score: 0-0
Goals: Walker Valley: Blayne Carroll
Assist: Vince Rollins
Record: Walker Valley 1-8-1, 1-5 District 5-AAA; Bradley Central 4-6, 0-4.