Berryville, Green Forest boys suffer 1st-round losses
The Berryville Bobcats played short-handed for almost the entire second half of Thursday’s first-round match against Warren, rallying from a 1-0 deficit to tie the score at 1-1 on a penalty kick by Sergio Escobar with 32 minutes remaining. But Warren spoiled the comeback, scoring the game-winning goal with less than 15 seconds remaining.
“Soccer is a funny sport," Berryville coach Joey Curtis said. "One mistake here or there and it will get you. If you control the whole game and dominate the whole game, you can still lose because of one mistake and that's what happened. It reminded me a lot of the Danville game this year. Just one mistake and you go home."
With Berryville trailing 1-0 early in the second half, the Bobcats’ Daniel Portillo received a red card, forcing him to sit on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Berryville played the rest of the match with one fewer player than Warren.
"That's what is so hard about those losses is watching our effort and seeing how bad our kids wanted it," Curtis said. "To see the effort they put forth, you couldn't ask for anything more. As a Bobcat alumnus, my heart was filled with pride because those guys went out there and laid it all on the line."
The Lumberjacks committed a foul inside the penalty box with 32 minutes remaining, allowing Escobar to make a penalty kick and tie the match at 1-1.
Berryville (8-4-1) controlled possession for more than 60 percent of the match.
"At the Eureka game, we played in a downpour," Curtis said. "My guys never said a word about it. They got out there and played. In my three years, this is the toughest team we have had."
Thursday’s match was the final one in a Berryville uniform for seniors Sam Muia, Marco Garcia, Luis Tovar, Jesse Diaz and Escobar.
Curtis started coaching the soccer team three years ago. Therefore, this senior class means a great deal to him.
"When I first started coaching soccer I wasn't exactly an expert," Curtis said. "These guys have honestly taught me more than I have taught them."
Episcopal 4, Green Forest 2
BATESVILLE — The Green Forest Tigers have had a flair for the dramatic all season long. Most times, the Tigers have come out on the winning side. In Thursday's first-round match against Little Rock Episcopal at the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Tigers were on the wrong end of a 4-2 loss that ended in penalty kicks.
Green Forest's Jose Hernandez made a goal during regulation and Carlos Lemus added another when the game went to penalty kicks.
"We were a little tight the entire game," Green Forest coach Jonathan Bryant said. "We finally loosened up a little bit there at the end when we put the goal in to tie it up. We thought we were going to pull it off in overtime. We had multiple shots, just nothing ever fell for us."
When the match went to penalty kicks, Green Forest elected to go first. Urbano Reyes missed his first attempt and a make by Episcopal put the Wildcats up 2-1. Lemus made his penalty kick, but Little Rock Episcopal answered to take a 3-2 lead. Franklin Morales missed and the Wildcats scored again, taking a 4-2 lead. Edson Merida missed, giving the win to Little Rock Episcopal.
"It's one of those where nobody is a fan of penalty kicks, but that's about the best way to end the game," Bryant said. "Especially when you are going to overtime, battling and nobody is putting in a goal."
Bryant was sure to give plenty of credit to Little Rock Episcopal.
"Tip your hat to them," Bryant said. "They played hard. They played physical and they are going to move on."
With 23 minutes remaining in the first half, the match was stopped because of lightning. It wasn't an ideal situation for either team.
"We weren't able to stay loose," Bryant said. "Everyone just sat around the turf. At the end I asked one of the Southside coaches if we could use one of their locker rooms so we could talk. There were four or five teams cramped in a weight room. Nobody stayed loose. It was bad for everyone, but that's what happens when you are playing at state and you get a little lightning delay."
After a scoreless first half, Little Rock Episcopal scored four minutes into the second half. Hernandez’s goal came with 10 minutes remaining in the match for Green Forest (10-6).
Bryant said he will miss his senior class and he is proud of the effort his team showed throughout the season.
"I'm extremely proud of these guys," Bryant said. "They fought hard all season. We came up short of our ultimate goal, but couldn't be more proud of these guys. Will definitely miss my seniors. They are a great bunch of guys."