CONWAY -- Both the East and West girls all-stars had to endure blistering heat on the Estes Stadium turf on Friday, but Tyler Reash wasn't sweating it.
The former Bentonville standout scored a pair of first-half goals as the West beat the East 3-2 in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Girls All-Star soccer game.
"It was definitely hot, but it was so fun getting a chance to be out here," Reash said. "Just to come out and meet all the girls. We all play differently, but to come together at the right time was a blast.
With everyone playing different, it made it that much better. I really enjoyed it."
Several of Reash's teammates appeared to have a ball, too, as the West knocked off their counterparts for the second year in a row.
Julia Dick of Benton was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player, while Kate Lane of Russellville was named the team's Most Outstanding Player. Gisselle Estrada of Springdale Har-Ber added a goal and an assist for the West, who pushed the issue throughout the first 40 minutes and enjoyed a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal to take a 3-1 lead into intermission. The East didn't allow the West to get nearly as many scoring opportunities in the second half but wasn't able to complete its comeback despite a late flurry.
Maddison Elsinger of Conway St. Joseph and Ahnya Ranaraja of Mount St. Mary each had goals for the East, which was outshot 15-6 for the game.
Reash noted there was somewhat of a feeling-out process in the initial stages of the match, but Estrada changed that in the 11th minute to get the West on track. Caitlynn Porter of Lake Hamilton stepped in front of an errant pass from the East and held control long enough to find Estrada, who buried a shot from 20 yards to give the West a 1-0 lead with 29:44 showing.
Reash would get in on the scoring 38 seconds later after retrieving a pass from Estrada and slipping a goal past East goalkeeper Sabrina Kellett of Greene County Tech.
"At first we were all nervous, all of us," Reash said. "We'd never played together before, but we started to settle down and just play."
The West extended its advantage to 3-0 when Reash came up with a steal and scored on a breakaway with 25:32 left in the half. But Elsinger helped pump some life into the East with a nifty goal just before the break.
Natalie Alcocer took a pass from Porter, raced down field and found Elsinger, who found the back of the net from 15 yards to trim the East's deficit to two. Ranaraja, who garnered Most Outstanding Player honors for her team, scored with 7:00 remaining to get the East within 3-2. She nearly tied the game at the 3-minute mark with an apparent score following a corner kick, but she was ruled offsides, which nullified the goal.
The West held on from there.
Sports on 06/22/2019
Print Headline: Early goals carry West girls by East