Lady Bobcats make it to the championship match

Friday, June 8, 2018
Berryville senior Lisbet Estrada dribbles past a Decatur defender in a match earlier this year.
Charles Chappell /

It was a memorable season for the Berryville Lady Bobcat soccer team, as the Lady Bobcats finished 12-5 and made it all the way to the Class 4A state championship match for the first time in school history.

"It was a great year for us," Berryville coach Aaron Hall said. "We were able to accomplish a lot and have a successful season. Hopefully we can take one more step next year."

Hall said the 2018 regular season didn't go as well last year, but the end result was better for the Lady Bobcats.

"Last year, we had a lot of those really tough games at home and we were able to come out on top," Hall said. "This year, we had a lot of those tough games on the road and we lost a couple of them. That's how it goes sometimes, but we knew once we got to the state tournament, we were playing like one of the top four teams."

Regular-season losses at Shiloh Christian and Dardanelle gave the Lady Bobcats a No. 3 seed heading into the Class 4A state tournament, which set up a difficult first-round matchup.

"We played another team in Robinson in the first round who we thought was in the top four," Hall said. “They beat us last year in the semis. It was a bad draw for whoever lost the game and it was a good draw for whoever won it because that team was the best team left on that half of the bracket. Our girls didn't want to play them round one, but we got them and I said let's play them when we are fresh. I think this is when we want to play them. If we have to play them, let's play them when we are fresh. We played real well. I was happy for them. Once we got through that game, we rolled through the next two. The first game was the key."

The season ended with a 6-0 loss to Central Arkansas Christian in the Class 4A state championship match, but Hall is proud of his team for making it that far.

"Once you get to the state championship game, you obviously want to win it," Hall said. "Our girls had talked about getting the banner last year. They were double-overtime penalty kicks away from getting it last year. Our school only gives you a banner if you make it to the finals. They wanted and accomplished their goal as far as that's concerned. CAC might be the best team in the state regardless of classification. We played toe-to-toe with them for 20 or 25 minutes with a man down so to speak. And then another one goes down. Our kids fought and that's all you can ask for. We got beat by a team that was better than us, especially on that day. There is nothing wrong with that."

Lisbet Estrada, Raquel Perez, Marisela Calderon, Mary-Kennedy Jackson, Sarah Hale, Claira Watson, Angela Janes and Nora Waller have all graduated.

"Three of the four girls that started on defense are four-year starters on defense," Hall said. "And the other, she played a lot the last couple years and was a starter this year. We lose our whole defense. It's going to be hard to replace, but we have some young kids that we think are capable of stepping up."

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