County well-represented at state

Monday, May 21, 2012
Bobcat Josue Portillo takes a hard bump from a DeQueen player but gets around around him none-the-less. The Bobcats came up short against the Leopards in the semi-finals of the 4A state soccer tournament, loosing 2--0 last Satuday at North Little Rock's Burns Park. Josh Barron / Special to Carroll County News

NORTH LITTLE ROCK -- The tufted seeds of cottonwood trees were drifting around the soccer fields at North Little Rock's Burns Park last week like snow during winter flurries. But while the cottonwood seeds were blowing gently in the breeze the action on the field was fast and furious last Saturday as the Berryville Bobcats played the DeQueen Leopards in the Arkansas state 4A soccer semi-finals.

The Leopards came out on top 2--0 in the evenly matched game. At least it was evevly matched foe the first half. "Their depth bothered us," said Berryville coach Don Earnest. "Them having 40 to 50 kids to rotate (in and out) and we're playing 12 or 13, it was rough."

Berryville battled DeQueen to a scoreless first half. The Bobcats did have scoring opportunities, though. One shot was wide, the second was blocked, and a third passed wide of an open net.

In state tournament first round action GF goalie Josiah Mullins deflects a penalty kick by the Clarksville Panthers just minutes before the first half ended in a 0--0 tie. Clarksville won the match 2--0. David Bell / Carroll County News

Defensively, Earnest's Bobcats shut down DeQueen in the first half.

In the second half it was a different story and DeQueen's depth began to give the Leopards the advantage.

At 10 minutes into the second half DeQueen scored their first goal. Then with only minutes left in the game they scored with a left corner shot, dashing the Bobcats' championship hopes.

Bobcat Jose Martinez dribbles past a Subiaco player in first round action last Thursday in Berryville's three game run to the semi-finals of the 4A state soccer tournament. Photos by David Bell / Carroll County News

"We played 12 players, they played about 25," Earnest said. "We matched up well (but) just didn't have enough depth to maintain our style (of play) for the whole game..."

The Bobcats finished 17--6 this season and won their fourth undefeated conference title. They advanced to the semi-finals for the third time in the program's history. "We won more games this season than we have won in any one season since I have been here," Earnest said.

The Bobcat coach said that Pablo Villatoro and Alex Perez were selected to the All-Tournament team. He went on to say his Bobcats had a great season. "We expect to get this far next season as we return a lot of quality players."

Lady Bobcat Edith Figueroa prepares to past to another Lady 'Cat as Berryville cruised to a win against Wickes in the first round of the 4A state soccer tournament. Photos by David Bell / Carroll County News

First round

The Arkansas state 4A soccer tournament began with the Lady Bobcats playing last Thursday in the 10 a.m. slot. Berryville played the Wickes Lady Warriors.

The Lady 'Cats started off slowly, but scored their first goal midway in the first half. Two shots on one drive failed to go in, but a third effort kick by Alexis Rubio got Berryville going. The second and fourth goals of the half were made by Yoyci Lopez. The third goal was kicked in by Rachel Lehr. The half ended 4--0.

Green Forest's Jose Herrera drops to do a scissor kick late in the second half of the match against Clarksville at state. Photos by David Bell / Carroll County News

Berryville's fifth goal came after a set up header toward the net was kicked in by Lopez.

At 26 minutes left in the game Betzy Boche scored the sixth goal, following up on a Rubio shot.

At that point the remaining time was cut in half. whenever a team gains a lead of six goals the mercy rule is invoked.

Coach Doug Scheel then started trooping in his remaining players. "Who hasn't been yet," Scheel asked at one point, and send them in.

The Bobcats played their first game against the Subiaco Trojans. They won 5--1

As with the Lady 'Cats the outcome of the boys game was never in doubt. Jose Martinez, Alex Perez, and Selvin Reyes scored for Berryville and good defensive play at the end kept Subiaco from catching up, though at the 14 minute mark the Trojans did score their only goal.

The Green Forest Tigers played the Clarksville Panthers in their opening round match. And the demon that plagued the Tigers at times all year long raised its ugly head -- squad depth.

At half time the score was 0--0. The play had been balanced on both sides. "We had a couple of shots on goal in the first half," said GF coach Juan Zuazua. "We had three shots in the second half."

But the toll of the first 40 minutes of tough play showed up in the second half as the Tiger's starters appeared to be just a step behind the Panthers, whose larger roster allowed them rotate in fresh legs. Shortly after the half began Clarksville made a hard shot to the goal, which was stopped by goalie Josiah Mullins. But they scored on their second chance shot, which could best be described a dinker, just barely rolling inside the goal.

Then about seven minutes before the end of the game they scored a second time sealing the Tigers' fate.

Second round

The second round game for Berryville found the Lady 'Cats facing the St. Joseph Bulldogs, of Conway. "We were evenly matched," coach Scheel said. "We had some good shots on goal, but some of our shots went wide."

"Our goalie (Jorane Homo) did a great job. She blocked a hard shot but on the rebound they got the followup goal," Scheel said. And that, in the end, was all St. Joseph needed to send the lady Bobcats home with a second round loss of 1--0.

The Bobcats played their second game agains the Warren Lumberjacks. And like they have done much of the season Berryville handily won the game 5--0.

As has often been stated by coach Earnest Alex, Perez and Jose Martinez have been leading scorers and Pablo Villatoro has controlled the midfield very well.

Writer Josh Barron contributed to this report.

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