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Edgar, Castillo lead Cabot to return championship trip

FORT SMITH -- Cabot Coach Kerry Castillo talked to his team the day after losing in the state final a year ago about turning the page and making it back to the championship game again.

Mission accomplished for the Lady Panthers.

Cabot used an early goal from junior Tristyn Edgar 10 minutes in on its way to a 2-0 victory Saturday in the semifinals of the Class 7A girls state soccer tournament at Jim Rowland Stadium.

"This has been our goal since Day One," Castillo said. "I made it known after making the finals, any other goal less than this is a waste of our time. We made it our goal then even through tears at the time. I'm so proud of this team."

Cabot (23-2) was able to get the early goal, but Fayetteville (17-5) settled in after that and didn't allow another score until four minutes were left in the match.

Freshman Janessa Aguirre added to Cabot's lead with a goal with four minutes remaining to help secure the victory.

"They got a little break through us," Fayetteville Coach Joe Thoma said. "That is their game and they do it well. After that, we were kind of chasing the goal to tie it after that. You spend a lot of energy doing that."

Fayetteville senior keeper Gracie Cape finished with eight saves, four in each half.

Fayetteville's best chance to tie the game was when sophomore Regan Resz had a shot go off the post with 24 minutes left in the game with Cabot clinging to the 1-0 lead.

BENTONVILLE 1, SPRINGDALE HAR-BER 0

Bentonville (21-3) is heading back to the 7A state girls soccer championship match.

Senior Lauren Hargus scored on a penalty kick in the 44th minute and that was enough to get past Springdale Har-Ber for a 1-0 victory.

"It is always special getting to the state tournament," Bentonville Coach Kristina Henry said. "It never feels like, 'Here we go again.' This group has worked hard. This was our goal to get there again."

Bentonville got its lone goal of the game against Har-Ber junior keeper Mekenna Taylor after drawing a penalty kick on a hand ball in the box was called.

Har-Ber (15-7) was able to get two shots on goal in the second half that forced a pair of saves from Bentonville junior keeper Maddee East.

The Lady Wildcats had a good opportunity to score with about seven minutes left in the game on senior Vanessa Reynoso's shot on goal, but it missed.

"We knew in the second half we needed to come with more pace," Henry said. "We were a little shy in the first half to take them on. It took a little time. But we got there in the end."

Taylor played a big part of keeping Bentonville from adding to its lead in the second half. She finished with three saves and came out of the box early to stop other scoring opportunities.

"She is always in position and on top of that is very athletic," Har-Ber Coach Fabrizio Campagnola said. "She helps us with ball control as well clearing it out for us. She is a complete keeper and had a great state tournament."

The Lady Tigers had another great chance to score, but Taylor made the stop on senior Lauren Holly's shot on goal with 15 minutes left in the game.

Sports on 05/14/2017

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