Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SPORTS >> Lions win, Lady Lions follow suit

Leader sportswriter

Victory was already in Searcy’s sight when Steven Seitz closed it out late in the second half of the Lions’ 3-1 non-conference match with Russellville on Monday.

Seitz, a junior forward, took a breakaway assist from sophomore Cam Woodruff and delivered the final goal for Searcy in the last 10 minutes to finish off a hard-fought battle.

Searcy (10-1) took the first lead at the 35:01 mark of the first half when sophomore infielder Evan Scarbrough scored with a sweeping move from the left side.

Russellville, which plays in the 7A-Central Conference during the regular season but will play in the 6A state tournament next month, tied it with a straight-ahead goal in the 17th minute before Woodruff handed the lead back to Searcy with a goal just before halftime.

“I thought it was a pretty even contest for the most part,” Searcy coach Bronco King said. “As for my guys, I thought they played with a little more consistency than they have been. We did well with our ball handling, and we kept it up for the whole game.”

The Lions (4-0 6A-East), the four-time defending 6A state champions, are off to another banner year. Recent victories over Jacksonville and Jonesboro have put them in reach of yet another top seed to the state tournament.

The Searcy Lady Lions, coached by Larry Stamps, easily handled the Lady Cyclones 5-1.

There were plenty of offensive highlights, but goalkeeper Rosario Bocanegra’s six saves in a span of 12 minutes were the difference for Searcy.

Bocanegra’s tough second-half performance backed up a solid, first-half showing by starting goalkeeper Aly Eaves, who had two saves in the first 40 minutes.

“We changed our lineup around just a little bit tonight, and I thought the kids played well,” Stamps said. “We passed the ball well, and we crossed it well, and we finished. I didn’t have too much to say at halftime. I was tickled with them.”

Bocanegra had a couple of easy saves while others were too close for comfort. Her final save on a Russellville shot from the right side came dangerously close to going in, but Bocanegra tipped the ball just high enough that it went over the bar.

Scoring was strictly by committee for the Lady Lions.

Michaelah Weaver gave Searcy a 1-0 lead at the 25:45 mark with the opening score, and Candace Adams added to the lead moments later.

Sam Stewart set the halftime margin at 3-0 in the 32nd minute when she hit a 30-foot shot that cleared the bottom of the bar and was out of reach of Russellville’s goalkeeper.

Freshman standout Micah Tipton broke a scoreless second half on a wide-open shot from 15 feet out for a goal with 13:34 remaining. Sophomore McKenna Smith then assisted Averie Albright on the right side for Searcy’s final goal just inside the 27th minute.

Russellville avoided a shutout with a goal against Bocanegra with 3:50 left to play.