Photographs by Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sunday
Siloam Springs players, from left, Audrey Maxwell, Sydney Bomstad, Laura Morales, Brooklyn Buckminster and Abigail Cole celebrate after Buckminster scored in the first half to give Siloam Springs a 1-0 lead over Benton in the Class 6A state semifinals. Siloam Springs defeated Benton to reach the state title game.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
SILOAM SPRINGS -- Siloam Springs' girls soccer team has its eye on the bigger prize.
The three-time defending 6A state champions scored two early goals and added one more in the second half to defeat Benton 3-0 in the Class 6A state semifinals held Saturday morning at Panther Stadium.
Siloam Springs will make its fifth straight appearance in the Class 6A girls state title game next weekend in Fayetteville and will be looking for its fourth straight championship.
The celebration on the field after Saturday's win was brief as Siloam Springs still has work to do.
"We celebrated a little more once we got into the locker room," said junior midfielder Brooklyn Buckminster, who scored the game's first goal. "But there's still one more game ahead to look forward to."
Siloam Springs will play Russellville in the state title game for the second straight season. Russellville defeated Searcy 4-2 in penalty kicks after a scoreless 100 minutes.
Buckminster corraled a pass from Megan Hutto with 34 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half and fired away from more than 20 yards into the lower left corner by Benton goalkeeper Jayme Selph to give Siloam Springs a 1-0 lead.
It was Buckminster's 10th goal and Hutto's team-leading and single-season record 20th assist.
Siloam Springs pulled ahead 2-0 about seven minutes left when Hutto took a pass from Hadley Crenshaw. She started right, switched to her left foot and went left and fired for a goal with 27:14 remaining on the clock.
It was Hutto's 24th goal, which ranks second on the team, and Crenshaw's eighth assist.
Siloam Springs (23-3) had multiple chances to add to their lead in the first half but couldn't finish some good looks.
Laura Morales added a goal with 20:18 left in the second half to set the final score. Audrey Maxwell assisted on the play for Siloam Springs. The goal was Morales' 11th and Maxwell's 16th assist.
"I don't know if you'd call it trouble finishing," said Siloam Springs coach Brent Crenshaw. "I just think Benton was a lot better than they were last year. I've been talking to their coach and he told me they're a lot better than they were."
Siloam Springs defeated Benton 7-1 in the state quarterfinals in El Dorado on its way to the state title a year ago.
"He says they start two freshmen and seven sophomores, so they're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next year or two," Crenshaw said.
Benton coach Jason Gentry said he was proud of his team's effort. Benton finishes the season at 17-7.
"I knew if they were going to beat us, they were going to have to work for it," Gentry said. "We were going to make them work for it. We weren't going to bunker back. That's one thing I'm really proud of our girls for -- for fighting. Had a couple of them banged up but just really proud of them."
Russellville 0, Searcy 0 (4-2 PKs)
Russellville hit all four penalty kicks it attempted and Onna Collins made a save in the period as the Lady Cyclones picked up the victory in kicks from the spot.
Marissa Williams, Rachel Prochazka, Cindy Gonzalez and Kate Lane all converted their PKs for Russellville (13-9-1).
Emily Housely converted Searcy's first PK, but Collins made a save on Kayla Churchwell diving to her right. Devin Hoofman kept Searcy (15-2-2) with one goal with a score on her PK, but Meredith Parker's attempt sailed over the goal to set up Russellville's Lane for the game-winner.
Russellville lost to Siloam Springs 1-0 in last year's state final. The Lady Panthers won all three meetings in 2017, twice by 2-1 scores and 5-0 in the 6A-West Conference championship on May 6.
Sports on 05/14/2017
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