Lady Mounties benefit from tough schedule
Aaron Crouch had a plan to beef up his team's nonconference schedule in the hopes that it would prepare them for the rugged 7A-West slate.
The result is a 4-0 start to league play and a spot all alone atop the league standings heading into tonight's home match against Bentonville High.
"That preseason schedule gave us a chance to see where we stood," Crouch, who is in his second season. "We played Catholic and Bentonville early and that allowed us to really see what we had to offer."
Several personnel moves have also proven to be effective, Crouch said. Senior Chelsea Arrick has moved from midfielder to the defensive backfield, where her impact has been huge, Crouch said. He also has used Hattie Hinkle in a variety of roles from attacking midfielder to outside defender.
Crouch's biggest coaching strategy came off the field when he convinced senior Skylurr Patrick to join the team after she missed her sophomore and junior seasons to play club soccer in Oklahoma. Patrick has scored 20 goals this season.
"Because the AAA does not allow a player to play club sports and a school sport at the same time, she had to make a choice," Crouch said. "She and I had some strong discussions about college and playing club. In Oklahoma, they play club soccer year-round. I was able to talk her into coming out for her senior season."
Crouch said the players on the team welcomed Patrick, but that he made sure to ingrain her slowly into the mix.
"They knew that she was a great player and obviously she is a leader," Crouch said. "The girls warmed up to her over time."
The Lady Mounties are 8-2-1 overall heading into tonight's key league clash with Bentonville. And the Lady Tigers will have extra incentive coming off a loss on Friday to Springdale High, a rarity in conference play.
"This group of girls has been phenomenal at sticking to the gameplan and trusting me," Crouch said. "We have been able to lay out a plan and they have carried it out."
Lady Panthers earn home win
The Lady Panthers took care of business on the field last week in a 3-1 home win against Harrison in a match-up of defending state girls champions.
Siloam Springs (9-2-2, 1-0 5A/6A District 1) lost earlier in the season to Harrison on a coin-flip in tournament play when the teams battled to a 1-1 draw. This time, the Lady Panthers got goals from Shelby Johnson, Meghan Kennedy and Laura Morales to claim the win.
"We beat a good Harrison team, and anytime we can get a win against a great program in a conference game is a positive for us," said Siloam Springs coach Brent Crenshaw. "I was proud of the way the girls responded after giving up a goal making it 2-1. They showed a lot of determination to come back from playing flat and scoring to secure the win."
Crenshaw was concerned after his team squandered a 2-0 lead by allowing Harrison to score on a free-kick after the Lady Panthers committed a penalty.
"It's something we've seen as a trend," Crenshaw said. "They go play really, really well and then go play with no emotions, no drive for 15-20 minutes. They let teams stay in it. They've got to find that killer instinct. If they can find that killer instinct, they're going to be even better."
The road doesn't get any easier for Siloam Springs this week as the Lady Panthers travel to Russellville for a rematch of last season's state championship match.
Graham Thomas contributed to this report.Preps Basketball on 04/03/2018
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