This week’s Class 3A State Soccer Tournament is definitely a local affair.
It will be played, starting on Thursday, at North Little Rock’s Burns Park and Maumelle Charter and Central Arkansas Christian are both strong contenders to have deep tournament runs in both boys and girls.
Last year’s state soccer tournament wasn’t played due to the ongoing pandemic, so there’s no defending champion but the 2019 girls championship was won by CAC, and Carter Lambert’s squad is essentially going for “one for the other thumb” as the Lady Mustangs are going for their 10th state title after championships in 2006, ‘07, ‘08, ‘12, ‘13, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18 and ‘19.
That is, as they say, not a bad run.
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CAC (8-1-1) has a first-round bye and will play at 10 a.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals against the winner of Lisa Academy West and Conway St. Joseph.
Maumelle Charter (8-3-2) enters the state tournament on a six-match winning streak and faces Lincoln at 2 p.m. on Thursday. That winner advances to face the winner of Episcopal Collegiate and Riverview.
Maumelle Charter has five seniors and the top goal scorers are Kayla Jackson and Allison Holzwarth as both have over 10 goals. Raine Fosburgh leads the team in assists while Abbey Mahoney has been a shutdown machine as goalkeeper. She hasn’t allowed a goal in the last six matches for Maumelle Charter.
The complete bracket can be read by clicking here and Maumelle Charter and CAC are on opposite sides of the bracket and wouldn't meet again until the 3A state championship match.
As expected, Maumelle Charter (11-3-2) gets Decatur in the first round at 4 p.m. on Thursday as that was one of the teams coach Tyler Maynard thought the Falcons would face. The winner would face the winner of Harding Academy and Lisa Academy North in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Senior Ethan Urban leads the Falcons and has signed to play soccer next season with Central Baptist College in Conway. Urban is one of four seniors on the team and Owen Counts, a junior, is another solid player for Maumelle Charter.
CAC (8-3-3) is the No. 1 seed from the 3A-South and faces Lincoln in the noon match on Thursday and that winner advances to face the winner of Cave City and Hermitage at noon on Friday.
While there’s no defending champion from last season, CAC did win the title in 2019 and the Mustangs are going for the fourth state title in school history with rings coming in 2008 and 2015.
As is the case with the girls, CAC and Maumelle Charter are on opposite sides of the bracket and wouldn’t face each other again until the state championship match. The complete bracket can be viewed by clicking here.
The matches are, of course, weather permitting and the forecast calls for sunny skies across the state and temperatures in the low to mid 70s. Starting on Thursday and continuing through semifinal Saturday.
In a break from years past, all state championships will be played in Benton, instead of the University of Arkansas due to the ongoing pandemic.
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