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6A GIRLS SOCCER: Fayetteville uses PKs to advance to state championship match in 4-3 win against Mount St. Mary

by Harold McIlvain | May 14, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.
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FORT SMITH -- The Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs persevered through obstacle after obstacle Saturday morning before earning a berth in the state championship game.

Sophomore Eleanor Lock scored on a sudden-death penalty kick to lift the Lady Bulldogs to a 4-3 win over Mount St. Mary at Jim Rowland Stadium in the semifinals of the Class 6A girls soccer tournament.

Fayetteville (16-1-2) will play Bentonville at Estes Stadium at the University of Central Arkansas next weekend in the championship game. Game dates and times for all championship games will be released today by the Arkansas Activities Association.

Saturday, Fayetteville peppered the Belles (16-4-3) early but fell behind 1-0 on Reese Hanan's goal with 24:18 left in the first half.

"After they got their goal, it deflated us," Fayetteville Coach Joe Thoma said. "We were really flat. We shouldn't have been, that's soccer sometimes. The first 20 minutes, we were all over them. Then they got a counter."

Lauren Magre scored her 16th goal of the season with 20:11 left in regulation to tie the game for Fayetteville, and that's where it stayed into overtime.

In the first 10-minute overtime period, Fayetteville's Regan McIntosh scored with 8:20 left. But the Lady Bulldogs were offside, wiping the goal away.

In the second overtime, with 1:55 left, Fayetteville had another potential game-winner hit the right upright on the goal and deflect away.

In the best-of-five penalty-kick period, Alexia Coca and Savannah Bosley punched in goals on the first two kicks for Mount St. Mary.

Fayetteville's senior goalkeeper Emily Robinson didn't allow another goal, and Janie Kramer and Kylie Mollner kicked consecutive goals as Fayetteville's third and fourth kickers to tie it up. After the fifth kickers for both teams missed, Robinson also made a save on the Belles' first kick of the sudden death penalty kick. Lock followed with the game-winner.

"We've been practicing PKs after practice, and I was just trying to do the same thing I've been doing in practice," Lock said. "Sometimes, I choke in practice, but I've been getting better."

Robinson didn't flinch after giving up two quick goals and facing a 2-0 deficit in penalty kicks.

"I try not to think at all," Robinson said. "Most of the time, I just try to breathe in my nose and out of my mouth. PKs are 75% to their advantage and not my advantage, so I try to keep that in my mind when I get scored on rather than other goals. I breathe and try not to think about the goal that has already been scored."

Bentonville 3, Rogers 0

Bentonville sophomore defender Tori Otter scored the first goal of the game then played stout defense to help Bentonville in a shutout victory against Rogers.

"She is an all-around player, athlete and good girl," Bentonville Coach Steven Porter said. "She has a really high character and is the kind of player you want on your team. She does so much. We have a special group around here."

Bentonville earned a corner kick off an early throw in, then Otter moved inside the box to put the Tigers up 1-0 just 13 minutes into the game.

"I went in the back post with a beautiful cross, it whiffed off a teammate and then it came right to me," Otter said. "I think it's a big asset that I can throw it pretty far. I just want to use my skills to my best ability to help this team."

Bentonville (16-3-1) put the game away with additional goals from Kayla Hurley and Star Chesshir against Rogers (13-4-2).

Bentonville will attempt to win its first title since 2017 when it faces Fayetteville next week.

-- Harold McIlvain II

Class 5A

Harrison 2, Valley View 1

Rylee Myers took a feed from Mia Barret to score with nine minutes left in the game and snap a 1-1 tie for the win.

Myers dished to Clare Barger to help Harrison (20-4-1) tie the game 1-1. Sydney Hobson also had eight saves on nine shots for Harrison.


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