Bentonville’s girls have six 7A-West Conference games under their belt, and the Lady Tigers have used six different lineups in those games.
One constant with all these changes is that Bentonville (8-1, 6-0) has remained unbeaten in league play heading into Tuesday’s big showdown at Fayetteville, with the winner taking control of first place.
“We have some players that can be used in more than one position,” coach Kristina Henry said. “That way, we can have different looks and different combinations. That part is nice.
“We’ve had to do this because we share some of our players with track, and we’ve had some that have been sick.”
Henry said some of the Lady Tigers’ combinations have worked better than others. Bentonville went scoreless for more than 70 minutes of its game against Rogers High last week before scoring two goals in about 90 minutes, then the Lady Tigers erupted for a 7-0 victory at home against Rogers Heritage.
“Some of the combinations hit pretty quick, and some take a while,” Henry said. “It took us a while against Rogers, even though we had created some scoring opportunities. I liked the grit and determination I saw from the girls and how they continued to stick in there and fight.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
The Lady Bulldogs continue to stay atop the 7A-West standings after a pair of wins last week. Fayetteville (8-2, 6-0) defeated Rogers Heritage, 3-1, on Tuesday at Harmon Stadium and then capped the week with another 3-1 victory at Rogers High on Thursday.
The two goals allowed, including the one against Heritage after an early handball violation led to a penalty kick for the Lady War Eagles, were the first given up in conference play this season. Defense has no doubt been the strongest point for the Lady Purple’Dogs so far and it will need to be again Tuesday as Bentonville visits town for a showdown of the top two teams in the 7A-West.
Thursday’s victory was the 350th of coach Joe Thoma’s career. Thoma coached at Fayetteville in the mid-1990’s before leaving to coach at John Brown University. He returned as coach of the Lady Bulldogs in 2012 and led Fayetteville to a state runner-up finish last season.
— Vernon Tarver • @NWAVernon
The Lady Wildcats mirrored the boys team with a split last week against teams from Fort Smith.
Har-Ber scored two goals in the first half and held on for a 2-1 victory over Southside. Har-Ber also played well against Northside, but lost 2-1 after being outscored on penalty kicks.
“I was happy with the results against Southside,” Har-Ber coach Cory Butler said. “The girls fought hard for a good win. Northside was disappointing. The girls lost on penalty kicks and the boys on a penalty kick with 5 minutes left in the game. Really tough ways to lose, but that’s how this conference goes.”
Har-Ber (2-5, 2-4) will continue conference play with road games at Rogers Heritage on Tuesday and Rogers on Friday.
— Rick Fires • @NWARick
Springdale snapped its scoreless streak in 7A-West play Friday at Fort Smith Southside.
But the conference losing streak continued in an 8-1 loss for the Lady Bulldogs (2-9-2, 0-6). Springdale has been outscored 26-1 during conference action, but did have a bright moment in a 4-2 home nonconference victory over Green Forest on Monday.
— Jimmy Carter • @NWAJimmy
The Lady Mounties struggled to score, going 0-2 last week in 7A-West Conference play.
Rogers fell 2-1 to Bentonville, then lost 3-1 to Fayetteville. The Lady Mounties notched their lone win of the week 3-0 over Joplin, Mo. in the Ozark (Mo.) Invitational on Friday evening.
Lauren Ross, Alice Arevalo and Maisey Louree each scored goals the win. But Rogers lost twice on Saturday, falling 8-0 to host Ozark and 2-0 to Springfield Catholic in the third-place match.
Rogers coach Taylor Vaccaro said her team is struggling with injuries.
Rogers (5-7, 2-4 7A-West) plays at Springdale High on Tuesday, then hosts Springdale Har-Ber on Friday. The Lady Mounties also play at Greenwood on Thursday.
— Paul Boyd• @NWAPaulB
The Lady War Eagles suffered through a rough week, being outscored by a combined score of 10-1 in losses to Fayetteville and Bentonville.
But Heritage coach Craig Frank said catching two of the top teams in the 7A-West Conference in the same week to go with suffering some key injuries were not a good combination.
“Those teams are usually 1-2 in the conference and we go them in the same week,” Frank said. “Not only that, we’re fighting some injuries with four kids, including two quality starters that put us behind the eight-ball to start the week.”
Senior Esteafany Soto tried to play despite an injured ankle, but lasted only about five minutes against Fayetteville, Frank said.
“You just can’t play soccer on one wheel,” Frank said
In addition, freshman Felicity Auxier is out for the season with a broken arm. She suffered the injury when she went to the ground with a knee injury.
“When he knee buckled, she went to protect it with her arm and broke it,” Frank said. “In 20 years of coaching, I’ve never seen that.”
Sophomore Sarah Setzer should come back from foot surgery this week, Frank said.
Heritage (7-4, 3-3 7A-West) just needs to be a little more precise with its shots to get back in the win column, Frank said.
“We just need to hit the back of the net,” Frank said. “We hit the post and the cross bar some.”
Heritage hosts Springdale Har-Ber on Tuesday, then plays at Springdale High on Thursday.
— Paul Boyd• @NWAPaulB