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PREP SOCCER: Bentonville wins 8th girls soccer title

by Sam Lane | May 21, 2023 at 3:25 a.m.
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CONWAY -- For the eighth time in program history, the Bentonville girl's soccer team stood alone at the top of Class 6A Saturday.

Bentonville defeated Fayetteville 3-0 at Estes Stadium on the University of Central Arkansas' campus.

The Tigers (17-3-1) saw the majority of possession and attacking chances in the first half but had to fend off multiple counter-attacks from Fayetteville to keep both sides scoreless through 30 minutes.

In the 33rd minute, Bentonville was awarded a free kick nearly 50 yards out from goal. Tori Otter hit a long, looping ball into the Fayetteville six-yard box, and Olivia Smith got her foot on the end of it to put the Tigers ahead 1-0.

"That's a weird goal. Really weird way to go 1-0 down," Fayetteville Coach Joe Thoma said. "That's where we kind of look at each other wondering what happened. Everybody just kind of froze, and they didn't. They ran through."

"We've been on the end of those, so for one to go our way, it's nice," Bentonville Coach Steven Porter said. "Soccer is such a weird game. It's hard to score one goal. You can dominate possession, you can create a million chances as we've done in the past and unfortunately lose. Today, we were able to make it count."

In the 45th minute, Bentonville doubled its lead off a throw-in from the left side. Amanda Schell struck a ball from 15 yards out to make the score 2-0.

"It's just tough to overcome [Bentonville's depth] because they get some fresh legs, and then they try to put you away and that's what they did," Thoma said.

With 10 minutes remaining, Bentonville unleashed a flurry of attacks, creating three scoring chances that Fayetteville managed to keep out of the net.

On its fourth attack in less than three minutes, the Tigers struck for their third goal when Abbi Armstrong drove from the right side of the penalty box to make it 3-0.

Bentonville capped its regular season off with a 2-0 win to clinch the 6A-West conference championship. The Tigers won their three state tournament games by a combined score of 8-1 to advance to the title game for a rematch with the Bulldogs.

"We've proven over a period of time that we were the best team in the 6A, and then we had to do it in a cup competition," Porter said. "I feel like the girls did it in style. So, it's all on the girls at the end of the day. I'm just the bus driver."

Saturday marked Bentonville's eighth team title and first since 2017. After coming up short despite winning the conference title in 2018-19 and 2021-22, Porter said he was happy to see his team on top again.

"The last three years we've arguably been amongst the top teams. We've won conferences the past two years. The only team that beat us the last two years has been a state champion," Porter said. "For this group of seniors to go out on a win is incredible because they really just helped establish a standard of excellence here on and off the field."

Print Headline: Bentonville wins 8th girls soccer title


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