Mustang Soccer Teams Head To State Championship
After back-to-back victories in the Class 4A semifinals on Saturday, the Mustang boys’ and girls’ soccer teams are heading to the state championship in Fayetteville this week.
The Lady Mustangs, led by coaches Carter Lambert and Kelsey Hatcher, took a 1-0 win over Shiloh Christian School on Saturday during the semifinal game hosted by CAC at Maumelle High School. Junior Lynley Childress scored the lone goal for the Mustangs in the final minutes of the game.
Lambert said the match was a good representation of what high school sports should be about.
“We defended really well as a team, put passes together and had more and more possession time as the game went on,” Lambert said. “Even though we were getting some pretty good scoring opportunities, Shiloh was really hard to break down, and it looked like we were headed for overtime. Fortunately, with about ten minutes to go, we won the ball in midfield.”
The week leading up the tournament was a difficult one for the Lady Mustangs, as the team mourned the death of junior goalie Josie Bates’ father, Steve Bates, who lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday. The team dedicated the tournament to the Bates family and showed their support by wearing “StateForSteve” bracelets in honor of their teammate’s father.
“This team is really committed to each other and it shows in how they treat each other and in their play,” Lambert said.
Coach Fabian Mina and the Mustangs also took a 1-0 victory on Saturday after a suspenseful game against Dardanelle. After 78 minutes of intense play, freshman Alex Mina, with an assist from junior Justin Flanigan, scored to assure the team’s victory.
“It was hard-fought,” said senior team captain Landon Stafford. “We’ll rest over the weekend and get ready to go Monday.”
The Mustangs fell to Green Forest in the 2014 title game, but Mina said he and the team are excited to return to Fayetteville and hopeful for a victory.
“The kids have been motivated all year and working hard for this final game,” Mina said. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be right where we are this moment. I think our kids will play with their hearts and leave everything on the field, which as a coach, win or lose, is all I can ask of them.”
The 4A state championship will be held at the University of Arkansas’ “Lady ‘Back” soccer stadium this Friday, May 22. The Lady Mustangs play Gentry at 10 a.m., and the Mustangs take on Danville at noon. Tickets are $7 and will be available at the gate.
Click the image below to watch THV11’s story about the Mustangs’ semifinals victory.