Bentonville West enters 6A-West conference play with a 4-1 record and is coming off an impressive 18-0 win over Huntsville in the Wolverines most recent match.
Blake McDoulett scored six goals in the rout, which saw the Wolverines score 12 times in the first half. He leads the team in goals so far this season with 10.
"Blake McDoulett has been playing tremendously for us," West coach John Marshall said. "He's just the type of player who puts himself in good scoring positions."
West's offense has been the top in the 6A-West, leading the conference with 27 goals, but has also been stout on the defense side of the field. The Wolverines have allowed three goals on the year, which is the third-lowest total in the conference.
West will play Fayetteville to open up the conference season at 7 p.m. today on the Bulldogs' home field with the girls' game being played before that. The Wolverines will be at home Friday for their match against Springdale at 4 p.m. while the girls will play after that.
"Last year, (Fayetteville) had several players who were pretty fast who were able to break through lines pretty quickly," Marshall said. "I know this year with a new coach, they're probably going to be really organized. They're definitely going to be technical so for us it's just making sure we put pressure on them."
Purple'Dogs lean on youth
In coach Brent Crenshaw's first season at Fayetteville, the Bulldogs have jumped out to a quick 4-1 start after losing their first game against Springdale Har-Ber, 1-0, this past weekend in the finals of the Hot Springs Tournament.
"I was really pleased with the boys. It was a close game, I mean, we missed a PK and missed two or three really good chances on corner kicks in the second half to equalize it," Crenshaw said.
The Bulldogs have a freshman midfielder in Skyler Marley who has already established himself as a key factor to the team's early success. Marley leads the team with five goals.
"That's tough going into 6A, to be a freshman and be able to contribute, so (Marley's) been really good. I'm excited about him," Crenshaw said.
Freshmen keeper Harrison Ennis has also impressed Crenshaw. Ennis has given up five goals in five matches, including two shutouts, on the season.
After facing West in its first conference match, the Bulldogs will travel to play Rogers High at 5 p.m. Thursday with the girls playing after them.
Tigers piling up wins
One of the teams to beat this season, Bentonville will enter conference play on a four-match winning streak and a 6-1 record, which is tied with defending-state champion Rogers for the best record in 6A-West.
The Tigers have only allowed three goals this season and already have recorded four shutouts with their most recent coming in a 2-0 win over Greenwood in the River Valley Cup tournament down around Van Buren last weekend.
A trio of senior defenders in Brianna Willis, Megan Sattler and Carrie Kotoucek have led Bentonville's defense to such dominant performances.
"They're tenacious. I've just got good senior leadership in the back," Bentonville head coach Kris Henry said. "I have three girls in the back who have played for me almost all four years now."
Junior forward Angelina Diaz leads the team with six goals, and senior forward Tyler Ann Reash has added three scores of her own this season. Reash played at a high level during the River Valley Cup, scoring a couple of goals in the tournament, Henry said.
"Tyler Ann Reash stepped up and did a great job," Henry said. "She was really productive just in her creativity and making some things happen."
Bentonville will travel to Springdale Har-Ber for its first conference game of the season at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with the boys' game to come after it. The Tigers will be on the road again Thursday at Van Buren with the girls taking the field at 7 p.m. and the boys playing before that.
Wildcats battle through injuries
Springdale Har-Ber opened the season winning four out of its first six games but have dropped their past two to fall to 4-3-1 before the conference season starts Tuesday. The Wildcats lost the last two games of the River Valley Cup tournament by a score of 1-0.
"The thing is, we have a young team. Also, we're dealing with some injuries so this past weekend we were shorthanded," Har-Ber head coach Fabrizio Campagnola said. "But that's why we play these games -- so we can see what we need to fix heading into conference play. I guess the glass is half empty right now."
Campagnola had to bring up five junior varsity players during the tournament to fill out the roster. Har-Ber has struggled on offense as of late and that's something Campagnola is looking to fix against Bentonville.
Junior goalkeeper Estera Kanono has been a bright spot for the defense that has only given up five goals all year. Kanono made two crucial saves during penalty kicks in Har-Ber's win against Vilonia and held off North Little Rock through two overtime periods before the team lost 2-1.
"She may surprise a lot of people," Campagnola said. "She's been playing good every game.
After its game against the Tigers, Har-Ber will play Rogers Heritage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with the boys' game to come before it.
Sports on 03/12/2019
Print Headline: PREP SOCCER REPORT West off to quick start