Your defending 7A Womens Soccer State Champions, the Bentonville Tigers, begin their season this Thursday, 5:30pm, at BHS Soccer stadium where they will host Tulsa Union. The Tigers, under head coach Kristina Henry, will be looking for their 8th State Championship, and 3rd in a row. It is an impressive feat, given the strength of perennial contenders Fayetteville, Cabot and Bryant.
The Tigers’ championship last season culminated in a 3-0 victory over Cabot, a game that was more highly contested than the scoreline may appear. But for Coach Henry, this season is like any other. “Expectations are that we compete well in conference for great positioning for the state tournament,” said Coach Henry.
The state tournament is familiar territory for the Tigers, and those seven State Championships are no mean feat. Coach Henry attributes the longevity of the success to the players themselves. “It’s really the personality of the kids. They have high expectations of themselves, to compete and do well. That carries over year to year,” said Henry.
The team will be led this season by a Senior class with some solid experience. Goalkeeper Maddee East and midfielder Madison Howard were starters in that Championship game, and they are joined by four other experienced Seniors: midfielders Anna Passmore, Emma Jenkins, defender Kinzie Stanphill and winger Madi Wood. And with that experience comes leadership. “They have a ton of experience in conference games, and they know what it’s like to lose, and that drives them,” said Henry.
Coach Henry will also be looking for leadership contributions from Junior defenders Carrie Kotoucek, Taylor Muff and Brianna Willis, as well as Sophomore midfielder Sydney Suggs. "They will all play bigger roles this year," said Henry. "They have already started well."
Thursday’s game will be the beginning of the quest for eight. “We’d really like to see the fans come out,” said Henry. “Soccer is a growing sport in our community and we’d love to see that support grow as our season gets underway!”
Coach Henry is assisted by Max Habereder and Nick Smallridge.