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PREP SOCCER: Bentonville's win streak now at three

by Rick Fires | April 23, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

ROGERS -- Bentonville will carry plenty of momentum into next week when the Tigers play two crucial games.

Noah Blake, Andrew Wagner, and Johnny Merlos scored goals as Bentonville defeated Rogers 3-1 Thursday at Whitey Smith Stadium. Bentonville's win followed a 3-1 win over Rogers Heritage and a 6-0 shutout over Fort Smith Southside.

The three-game winning streak comes at a good time for Bentonville (6-2-3), which hosts league-leading Springdale on Tuesday before closing the week out at rival Bentonville West on Friday.

"It feels good to be playing some good soccer," Wagner said. "We've been putting in the work and we're coming together as a team at the right time."

Bentonville grabbed a 1-0 lead against Rogers (3-5-3) midway through the first half on a goal by Blake. The Tigers then went ahead 3-0 in the second half on goals by Wagner and Merlos. Rogers cut the Bentonville lead to 3-1 on a goal by Brandon Nava, but the Mounties could not get another ball past Bentonville goalkeeper Evan Shanks.

Bentonville coach Mike Devaney is pleased with the Tigers' recent wins but cautions his team can play better, especially on the offensive end.

"Obviously, when you can string some wins together it's good for your confidence," Devaney said. "But I didn't think it was a particularly well-played game. We gave the ball away way too much and we didn't create as many goals as I would've liked. We'll go back to work and get ready for the big game on Tuesday against Springdale."

Bentonville dominated possession on the Rogers end in the first half, but the Tigers only manage the goal by Blake, who also scored Monday in Bentonville's win over Rogers Heritage. The goal by Wagner early in the second half provided some cushion for the Tigers, who added a third goal about five minutes later with the score from Merlos.

"(Blake) pushed it through to me and I got through the defense and was able to slot it home," said Wagner, who had an assist in Monday's win over Rogers Heritage.

Bentonville was in position to score early in the game after Merlos passed to Blake about 10 yards in from of the net. Blake then sent a short pass in space to Wagner, who could not get his foot on the pass. Logan Turner also shot way high at the net on a free kick for Bentonville.

Print Headline: Bentonville's streaknow at three in row

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