One of the Lady Tigers’ season goals is within reach this week.
If Bentonville (14-2, 9-0) can sweep its three matches, beginning with Monday’s rescheduled home match against Springdale Har-Ber, the Lady Tigers can wrap up at least a share of the 7A-West Conference championship and the league’s No. 1 seed for the Class 7A girls state tournament, which begins May 11 at Fort Smith Southside.
“It will be good for us to come out and win these three,” Bentonville coach Kristina Henry said. “It’s a big week for us, and there’s a lot of minutes to be played.
“But if we can come out and do that this week, it takes some of the pressure off. We still want some of the pressure on, though, because we want to get better with every match.”
The Lady Tigers will also host Springdale in a regularly scheduled match Tuesday, then travel Friday to Rogers High.
That top seed is important because it comes with a first-round bye, meaning those teams must win two matches to reach the championship game instead of three.
“It’s a big difference,” Henry said. “I used to be concerned about the space between the last regular-season match and the state tournament, but not any more.
“We need every minute available that we can to rest. There are a lot of distractions this time of year, and it’s something we talked about in our team meeting Thursday.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry
Five matches remain on the conference docket after Friday’s match at Rogers High was postponed due to weather.
Fayetteville (12-3, 7-2) maintains a one-match lead on Springdale Har-Ber and Rogers High in the 7A-West standings and control their own destiny with those two teams among the final five on a schedule that includes four road trips.
This week, the Lady Bulldogs hit that road with a match Tuesday at Rogers Heritage and another Friday at Springdale Har-Ber. They’ll then wrap up the regular season the following week with three games in four days, including the match at Rogers High, which has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m.
— Mike Capshaw • @NWACappy
The Lady Red’Dogs have hit a rough stretch over the last two weeks, but hope to kick off this week with a bang.
Springdale, after weather wiped out its match Friday, faces Bentonville West at Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium tonight. DJ Beeler’s club ran away with a 4-2 win on March 28 in the teams’ first meeting.
A win today would give Springdale its first in nearly three weeks – a 3-1 win at Van Buren. It would also earn a season sweep of the Lady Wolverines and pull them even in the conference standings with West, which is 3-6 in the 7A-West.
As of now, the Lady Red’Dogs are on the outside looking in in terms of state tournament hopes, but with five matches remaining in the final two weeks, ground can be made up.
Springdale has a number of winnable matches left, but it all begins Monday. Van Buren remains winless in conference, while wins against Bentonville (9-0), Fayetteville (7-2) and Rogers (6-3) will be a challenge.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
Fabrizio Campagnola’s Lady Wildcats are arguably playing their best soccer of the season at just the right time.
Just two weeks remain in the regular season and state tournament seeding is on the line essentially each match from here on out. Har-Ber sits at 6-3 in the 7A-West – good for third place – with five important matches remaining.
Har-Ber has won four of its last five overall, grabbing wins against Rogers Heritage, Van Buren, Rogers High and Springdale High. Each of those clubs lie below Har-Ber in the conference standings, but a 2-0 win against the Lady Mounties on April 14 looks all the more vital now as Rogers also sits at 6-3 in the 7A-West.
Each team in the league, though, is chasing Bentonville High. The Lady Tigers have rolled through conference play, outscoring opponents 46-1 in nine league matches. Bentonville is up next for Har-Ber tonight on the road.
Har-Ber faces Bentonville West at home Tuesday before taking on Fayetteville on Friday to close the week. The Lady Wildcats are 1-1 so far in league play against West and the Lady Purple’Dogs, cruising to a 6-2 win against West and falling in penalty kicks to Fayetteville in a makeup game two weeks ago.
Ten players have netted at least one goal this season with Giselle Estrada leading the way with 10. Vanessa Reynoso leads the team with nine assists, as well. Har-Ber has assisted on 25 of 35 goals this season.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie