FAYETTEVILLE --Make it five straight for the Siloam Springs girls.
Siloam Springs became the first girls soccer team in state history to win five consecutive state championships Friday after defeating Benton 1-0 in the 6A championship game at Razorback Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
The current group of Siloam Springs seniors won the last four titles, having won every time they've played at Razorback Field.
"It's awesome for our seniors to know that every time they stepped on this field that they won," said Siloam Springs coach Brent Crenshaw. "Also they didn't lose a game at home this year, so that's got to be an awesome experience for these seniors."
Senior Megan Hutto scored Siloam Springs' lone goal in the 29th minute in the first half.
Hutto had had a one-on-one opportunity stuffed by Benton goalkeeper Jayme Selph, but the ball bounced away into the corner. Madison Race served it back in, and it deflected off a Benton defender right to Hutto, who scored her 29th goal of the year.
Hutto earned state championship Most Valuable Player honors, which she also earned as a freshman in 2015. Hutto's teammate Audrey Maxwell won the MVPs in 2016 and 2017, but she was lost for the 2018 season with a torn ACL.
"I feel like if Audrey was still here, she would have done her thing and gotten it," Hutto said. "I'm really just proud of us today and how we played the whole state tournament. We played so hard. I know it was really tight. I got really scared and tired. It was our last game together, so we had to keep going and keep pushing and want it more."
Siloam Springs -- which defeated Benton 5-2 in the 6A-West Conference title game on May 6 -- survived an early Benton onslaught at the start of the game. Benton (16-5) outshot Siloam Springs (22-3-2) in the early going, but goalkeeper Sydney Bomstad was there to make the saves.
"If we could have gotten a goal in the first eight to 10 minutes it could have been a different game," said Benton coach Jason Gentry. "But we proved to ourselves right there that we could play with them. A lot of people were saying Siloam Springs is the greatest team ever. They're really good obviously, but we can play with them. We needed to prove that to ourselves early."
Momentum began to swing to Siloam Springs midway through the first half, giving the Lady Panthers more opportunities to score. In the second half, Siloam Springs opted for a defensive gameplan and held off Benton's attacks.
"We knew it would be a tough battle," Crenshaw said. "Benton's got a good team, good players. ... I knew that they would play hard. We were able to withstand the first 10 to 15 minutes. That was huge. We controlled the game. We couldn't finish. I think we had plenty of chances, we just couldn't finish."
Sports on 05/19/2018
Print Headline: Siloam Springs girls claim fifth straight state title