The Greenwood Lady Bulldogs soccer team and Head Coach Andrew Post returned to the state tournament for the first time in five seasons (since 2018) last week, but lost in the first round to #1 seed Valley View from the 5A East, who also hosted the tournament. The GHS girls finished fourth in the 5A West standings.
The Lady Blazers outshot and outscored the Lady Bulldogs, 5-1, and moved on to the quarterfinals. Valley View was beaten in the semifinals by the Lady Goblins of Harrison, who will play in the finals on Saturday against Pulaski Academy. Harrison moved up to Class 5A just this season and played in the 5A West conference with Greenwood.
“We played a very good [opening] half, scoring first with about 10 minutes left in the half,” said Coach Post. That goal was scored by freshman Mariah Bartok. “Unfortunately, we gave up a goal [late] in the half.” The match was tied at 1-1 at the intermission, but the second 40 minutes belonged to Valley View, playing on their home field.
“The second half we didn't match our first half effort and gave up four goals,” said the coach. “The girls played hard against a very good Valley View team. We certainly gave them a scare, and I believe we were the best #4 seed in the tournament. It was a great season for these ladies, certainly one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory.”
Post also revealed that several of his players have been selected for postseason honors, including one all-state player, three all-conference selections, and one all-tournament player. However, he is withholding release of their names until the team has its annual end-of-season banquet next week.
The Greenwood boys soccer team was knocked out of the playoff chase on the final day of the regular season after losing to Greenbrier, 2-0, opening the door for Mountain Home to slide by the Bulldogs and into the fourth spot in the conference standings. Both Harrison and Mountain Home won their season-ending matches, allowing them to finish third and fourth, respectively, leaving the GHS boys on the outside. A Greenwood win over Greenbrier would have given them third place in the league and a #3 seed in the postseason tournament.
As expected, the 5A West is represented in the state finals again this season with the Russellville Cyclones taking on the Lakeside High School Rams this Friday afternoon. Either Russellville, Siloam Springs, or Van Buren have dominated the state finals over the past several years, all from the 5A West conference.
“It was a very tough way to end the season,” acknowledged Head Coach Tyler Woods. “If we had won, we were the clear three seed.” The match was scoreless at halftime before the Panthers took charge with two second half scores, while the Bulldogs struggled to find their offensive footing. Still, Woods was pleased with his team’s efforts this spring, despite missing the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, excluding 2020 due to the Covid outbreak.
“I'm proud of the fight these guys gave us, especially these seniors,” said Woods. “After the first half of our conference season the playoffs weren't in sight. They could have easily given up, but they didn't. They put their heads down and fought hard. They reeled off wins versus Harrison twice (#3 seed), Alma twice, against Siloam Springs (first time in 8 years), and at Mountain Home (#4 seed).
“I wish we would have made the playoffs, but I am super proud of these boys and the direction this program is headed,” Woods continued. “I always preach attitude and effort, and these guys will take that [message] and be successful in anything they do.” The team’s departing seniors include Ben Pschier, Jesus Garcia, Ralph Meeker, and Steven Duran.