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STATE CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT: ‘21 FINALISTS SET SOCCER REMATCH

State Championship Report: ‘21 finalists set soccer rematch

NWA DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF

nwaonline.com | 5/20/2022

Saturday's game in Benton is a rematch from last season when Fayetteville earned the Class 6A state championship with a 3-0 win over Bentonville West. Both teams are back in the finals after finishing behind Bentonville in the 6A-West Conference standings.

Fayetteville eliminated Bentonville 4-3 while Bentonville West stopped Fort Smith Northside 3-1 in semifinal games at Conway. Saturday's championship game will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Benton Athletic Complex.

"Our team is extremely focused right now," Fayetteville coach Joe Thoma said. "When you're focused and have that belief in yourself you always have a chance. But we know Bentonville West is focused as well. They've got some super stars on their team up front and we know they're going to be amped up. It's going to be a battle, for sure."

Bentonville West opened 6A-West Conference play in March with a 2-0 win over Fayetteville, which beat West 1-0 when the teams played again in March. West will carry an eight-game winning streak into Saturday's match that includes a 3-0 win over rival Bentonville to end conference play.

The Lady Wolverines are led by Tianna Jones, who has 19 goals and nine assists on the season. Kate Cater is second with 15 goals 11 assists. Fayetteville will counter with top players like Caroline Bertalotto and Lauren Magre, the team's leading scorer who has scored four times in three state tournament games.

"Fayetteville is a very good side and are well-coached," Bentonville West coach Kerry Castillo said. "I have no doubt the game will be closely contested. We're telling our young ladies to just find joy everyday and be grateful for the opportunity and to go fight their hearts out for one another."
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