Consecutive losses against Rogers High and Rogers Heritage last week dropped the Bulldogs below .500 with a 4-5 overall record. Even more vital, they dipped to 1-3 in 7A-West play, but coach Joe Thoma is encouraged by his young squad’s progression.
“We’re learning and we’re trying to become a good team and we’re almost there,” Thoma said. “It’s a process and it’s a young group with only three that played varsity for us last year. We’re just learning on the job and it’s exciting because they’re really giving it their all.”
Freshman forward Sullivan Witte, who scored the team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss against Rogers High, has been a bright spot, especially offensively.
“I think he’s scored in nearly every game he’s played in after getting here out of basketball,” Thoma said after the Rogers High game.
Fayetteville hosts Springdale Har-Ber at Harmon Field at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and travels to Jarrell Williams Stadium to take on Springdale High at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy
The War Eagles (6-2, 2-2 7A-West) enjoyed a good week with two wins over Van Buren and Fayetteville.
Heritage got goals from Pedro Garcia and Chris Cano to edge Fayetteville 2-1 on Friday. Erol Banuelos picked up the assist on Garcia’s goal. The War Eagles host Bentonville West and Bentonville High this week.
The Mounties (5-3, 3-1 7A-West) won their third straight 5-0 over Van Buren on Friday. Jessie Ramirez and Johan Rodriguez had two goals each. David Salinas also added a goal. Alex Balderas notched five assists.
Rogers will try to keep the streak going, facing Bentonville High and Bentonville West this week.
Coach Cory Butler’s Wildcats, you might say, had quite a successful stretch last week. Har-Ber won all five of its matches, two in conference play, a week ago and now sit at 8-1 overall.
Behind two penalty-kick wins and a decisive 3-0 victory, Har-Ber brought back the Bishop Kelley Invitational championship. Har-Ber won two matches in one day last Friday, knocking off Tulsa Union and Bentonville West. Saturday, the Wildcats won their fifth match in five days.
Sandro Ramirez, Jimmy Araujo and Ivan Fuentes netted the three goals against Broken Arrow (Okla.) in the tournament finals for Har-Ber.
Two roadtrips await this week at Fayetteville and Van Buren. The Purple’Dogs and Pointers are both 1-3 in conference play thus far and have given up a combined 21 goals in league matches.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
The Red’Dogs have allowed just four goals all season against 26 scored. They’ve given up just one in conference play through four matches.
The one goal, though, was costly, as Bentonville edged Springdale 1-0 last Friday, snapping the Red’Dogs’ four-match winning streak dating back to March 11.
Last week began with a big 4-0 win against Bentonville West coming off of spring break. Salvador Gonzalez scored twice in the win while Jose Vega and Manuel Soto each added goals as well. Springdale is +8 in goal differential in league play. No other team is better than +5 so far (Har-Ber/Rogers +5, Bentonville +4).
Springdale travels to Van Buren Tuesday before hosting Fayetteville Friday.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
West’s boys have had their share of close calls in 7A-West Conference play, but what they don’t have is a share of victories.
The Wolverines (3-7-1, 0-4) are still looking for their first league victory, but they have lost three matches by one goal, and that could lead to frustration. That includes a 2-1 loss to Springdale Har-Ber last week.
“What’s really upsetting for us is we are competing hard and playing close matches,” West coach John Marshall said. “We’ve been in the games, but we have to learn how to finish.
“We want to be able to create more scoring chances, but keep in mind we play some tough teams. There’s no easy games for a team that is as young as we are, but we’re competing. We just need to get on the winning side of those scores.”
West could be without the services of junior Noah Geels, who suffered an injury during last week’s match against Springdale. Geels had surgery done Monday, and his status for future matches is now up in the air, according to Marshall.
Bentonville learned its lesson in a loss to Springdale Har-Ber and applied it to a win over Springdale High and earn a split on that road swing.
The Tigers (4-1-1, 3-1) had a 1-0 halftime lead in both matches, but gave up three second-half goal in its loss to Har-Ber. Against Springdale, however, Bentonville held on and recorded the shutout over the Red’Dogs.
“The biggest difference was our defense against the set pieces,” Bentonville coach Mike Devaney said. “We gave away some against Har-Ber, which did a good job and had us pinned back.
“We defended a lot better against Springdale by limiting the number of set pieces, like free kicks and corner kicks. That was good because Springdale has a few players that can really crack a ball.”
Bentonville enters this week’s matches in a four-way tie with Har-Ber, Springdale and Rogers High in the league standings. One of those teams will fall out Tuesday since Bentonville hosts Rogers.
“It’s about what we thought it would be,” Devaney said. “It shows that anybody can be beaten on any night, and even if you play pretty well, you might end up on the wrong end of the score because the teams are awfully good.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry