Bentonville coach Mike Devaney provided his team with a little history lesson before the Tigers (3-0-1, 2-0 7A-West Conference) headed to spring break and a week off from action.
The Tigers were reminded of what happened last year, when they headed into spring break unbeaten in 7A-West Conference play. Bentonville returned, only to suffer losses against Springdale Har-Ber and Springdale High — the two teams that Tigers will face on the road this week.
“I wanted the men to be in that frame of mind that, when we returned to school, that if we’re not ready to play we could be on the wrong end of some matches,” Devaney said. “Those are some very good teams, and they will be difficult matches.
“I wanted to make sure we don’t make the same mistake again, or we’re going to get punished.”
Devaney didn’t hold any practice sessions during the break, but he said some of the players who stayed in town last week did get together for a couple of informal workouts. The week off allowed some players to heal, especially seniors Jose Castro and Zach Fields.
Those two players banged their heads during the March 15 match at Fayetteville, with one needing staples and one needing stitches. They were held out of the Tigers’ 4-1 victory at home the next night against Van Buren but should be full strength this week.
“They wanted to play against Van Buren, but common sense prevailed in that matter,” Devaney said.“They should be healed up now, which is good because we have some stern tests this week.”
Spring break couldn’t come any quicker for West’s boys.
The Wolverines (3-5-1, 0-2 7A-West) had played eight matches over the course of 13 days, so the week off games their players some much-needed rest.
“Our legs were pretty tired, and we’re not very deep on our roster,” West coach John Marshall said. “At one time, we had played five matches in five days, and you could tell there was some soreness. So we gave them the week off so they could come back ready to play.”
When West’s players return to practice Monday afternoon, one of the things the Wolverines will focus on is finishing, according to Marshall. They opened conference plays with losses to Van Buren (2-1) and Fayetteville (1-0), but not because of a lack of effort.
They will try to get back on track this week with home matches Tuesday against Springdale High and Friday against Springdale Har-Ber.
“We’ve been very unlucky,” Marshall said. “We led 1-0 against Van Buren before a penalty kick tied the score, followed by a late goal. But we had some missed opportunities, and it happened again against Fayetteville.
“We’ve had plenty of shots. We had one against Fayetteville that was 2 feet in front of the goal, but we were just unlucky. We’ve been either hitting the crossbars or going over the goal, but we still have to stay aggressive on the offensive end.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
After 12 days off, the Bulldogs will get back into 7A-West action when they host Rogers High at Harmon Field at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Fayetteville (4-3, 1-1) bounced back from a conference-opening 2-0 loss against Bentonville High with a 1-0 win against Bentonville West on March 16.
The Bulldogs have won four of their past five matches after opening the season with consecutive losses. Six of Fayetteville’s seven matches have ended with one team getting shutout with a 2-1 loss against DeQueen on March 4 serving as the lone exception.
On Friday, the Bulldogs host Rogers Heritage.
— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy
The Mounties (3-3, 1-1 7A-West) will try to pick up where they left off before spring break.
Rogers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first half en route to the 3-1 win over crosstown rival Rogers Heritage back on March 17. Jessie Ramriez had a goal and an assist to key the Mounties’ attack. They will play at Fayetteville on Tuesday, then host Van Buren on Friday.
The War Eagles (4-2, 0-2 7A-West) will try to get back on track, after dorpping their first two conference matches.
Heritage lost to Springdale High and crosstown rival Rogers High two weeks ago. The War Eagles could get forward Pedro Garcia back from injury. He missed the first two league matches because of a hamstring injury. The War Eagles travel to Van Buren on Tuesday, then travel to Fayetteville on Friday.
— Paul Boyd • @NWPAULB
Three consecutive wins, including two in 7A-West play, before spring break has Springdale off to an ideal start, coach Donald Beeler said.
The Bulldogs notched wins against Rogers Heritage and at Springdale Har-Ber March 14 and March 16, respectively, scoring five times while not allowing a goal. In fact, Springdale has allowed just two regulation goals in its last six matches and just three all season.
Salvador Gonzalez netted two goals in the wins in the week prior to spring break to lead the Bulldogs. Springdale got goals from Michael Martinez, Richie Godinez and Jesus Barroso as well. Beeler’s club travels to Bentonville West Tuesday to begin the week and hosts Bentonville High (2-0 7A-West) Friday night in an intriguing showdown.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
The Wildcats hit a bit of a bump in the road with the home loss to Springdale March 16, but two chances to get back on track come this week against West and Bentonville.
Har-Ber, prior to its first loss of the season, had scored four goals in each of its first three matches against just three goals allowed. Tuesday’s home match with Bentonville will be a challenge as the Tigers average three goals per match so far in league play.
Har-Ber will cap its week with a trip to Bentonville West, who’s scored only once in two league matches.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie