Last-minute goal lifts Tigers over Harrison
By Scott Loftis
After back-to-back shutout losses to Fayetteville and Siloam Springs in tournament play at Harrison over the weekend, the Green Forest Tigers were in need of a boost.
Emerson Ortiz supplied it.
Ortiz scored off an assist from freshman Blue Do Soh with 56 seconds left in Saturday’s game against Harrison, lifting the Tigers to a 3-2 victory.
“You talk about excited, because we’re thinking it’s a 2-2 tie and we weren’t satisfied with that,” Green Forest coach Ben West said. “We really wanted to win. … Emerson was at the right place at the right time and just nailed it in. It was a pretty shot. It was a good win.”
It was the second goal of the game for Ortiz, a junior. Soh also had a goal for the Tigers (2-2).
The win lifted the Tigers’ spirits after a 3-0 loss to Fayetteville on Friday and a 3-0 loss to Siloam Springs earlier on Saturday.
Class 3A Green Forest played Class 6A Fayetteville and Class 5A Siloam Springs to scoreless ties in the first half of their respective games.
“I believe Fayetteville is probably the best team in the state at their level. They’re just pretty dang good,” West said. “We ran out of gas in the second half.”
West said he was pleased with his team’s effort in the tournament.
“I was real satisfied with our play,” he said. “I thought our boys played really hard. They really wanted to win. They wanted to beat Fayetteville. They wanted to beat Siloam.”
Three starters were sidelined by injuries for the Harrison game. West said he expected two of those players back for Monday’s game at Berryville, but he was concerned that senior captain Bryant Escobar might have a significant knee injury.
“We’re waiting to get some results back on him,” West said.
Overall, West said he’s confident in the Tigers’ starting lineup although the Green Forest reserves are inexperienced.
“We’re beat up,” he said. “If we get everybody healthy, I feel pretty good. We’re not real deep.”