Lady Bobcats get best of conference rival
By Scott Loftis
More than 100 miles separate Berryville and Dardanelle — a bit far for an Arkansas high school sports rivalry.
Don’t tell that to the Berryville and Dardanelle girls soccer teams.
The teams continued their 4A West rivalry with a wild back-and-forth battle last Friday at Bobcat Stadium. When the smoke cleared, Berryville had secured a 5-4 victory behind four goals from senior Maryn Jones — and some much-needed momentum headed into this week’s district tournament.
“I went through a wide variety of emotions during the game,” Berryville coach Aaron Hall said.
Dardanelle led 1-0 at halftime despite Berryville controlling the ball for much of the first half.
The Lady Bobcats scored 40 seconds into the second half to tie the score.
“I’m thinking ‘We’re going to take over,’ at this point,” Hall said.
Instead, Dardanelle scored the next two goals. Berryville answered again with two quick goals of its own before the teams went into a scoring lull.
The Lady Bobcats finally broke through with a goal to take the lead, then added another before Dardanelle scored on a penalty kick to get within one.
Berryville held on for the final seven minutes to secure the victory. In addition to Jones’ big scoring night, junior Taylor Swofford had Berryville’s other girl on a header off a corner kick.
Hall noted the quality of the Berryville-Dardanelle rivalry, which is further enhanced by the fact that Dardanelle coach Don Earnest is a former Berryville coach and his daughter, now a junior for the Lady Sand Lizards, played youth soccer with many of the Berryville players.
“To be so far apart, we just have a really nice rivalry with them,” Hall said.
Another growing rivalry — this season, at least — is the one between Berryville and Clarksville. The Lady Bobcats will travel to Clarksville on Tuesday in the first round of the 4A West District Tournament.
A state tournament berth is on the line, and so is a chance for the Lady Bobcats to avenge a controversial 4-3 loss two weeks ago.
Hall was not pleased with the officiating in that game, and his players haven’t forgotten the loss.
“Our kids are still a little mad about the way that game ended,” Hall said. “They had two goals that we didn’t think should count. Hopefully that will have them ready to go win.”
The final two rounds of the district tournament will be played at Berryville.