There's a mood around Siloam Springs' 2017 all-star soccer players that seems to be pretty consistent.
They're all excited to be participating in tonight's Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Games.
Goalkeeper Anna Claire Lewis along with midfielders Francisco Sifuentes and Austin Shull and head coach Brent Crenshaw are all set to represent the Panthers soccer program tonight in the exhibitions, which will be played on the purple and gray turf of Estes Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
The girls game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., while the boys game will follow immediately around 7 p.m.
"I am very excited to play in the game and it's an honor to be selected," said Lewis, who helped the Lady Panthers win four state titles in her four years in the Siloam Springs soccer program. "I think it's going to be a great experience to play with girls from all over the state."
The experience should be especially fun for Lewis, who was an all-state goalkeeper in 2017 and signed with Harding University in February.
Lewis will be teammates on the West All-Stars with her future college roommate, Emma Welch of Class 7A state champion Bentonville.
Also on the West All-Stars are some of her club soccer teammates and best friends, Lauren Hargus of Bentonville and Amber Ellis of Gentry.
Lewis said playing with her friends "is going to be fun."
"It's going to be very fun to watch Anna Claire play in her last game before heading off to Harding," said Crenshaw, who was Lewis' high school coach her final two seasons. "She made some big-time saves for us this year when she had to and is a really good goal keeper and leader. I'm proud of her."
The Lady Panthers have gone 64-25-1 with four straight Class 6A state titles over Lewis' four years as a Lady Panther, including a 36-11-1 mark and two championships under Crenshaw.
Crenshaw, meanwhile, will get to coach two of his Panthers -- Shull and Sifuentes -- one last time as head coach of the West Boys All-Stars.
"I'm very excited about being able to coach Austin and Francisco in one more game," Crenshaw said. "These two are both very special to our program and to me as well. Both have great attitudes, work ethics and there is no question about their talent.
"Austin is the leader on the field, and Francisco is probably the fastest player I have ever coached."
Shull was an all-state selection in Class 6A and recently named to the All-Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Boys Soccer Team and to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's All-Arkansas Preps Second Team. He finished the season with six goals and 10 assists.
"I feel honored to get the opportunity to play in the All-Star game," Shull said. "There's a lot of good soccer players in Arkansas that will be there and I feel blessed that I am getting the chance to play with and against them. I am excited for it and I know I am going to have a great time."
Sifuentes, meanwhile, also scored six goals and had three assists for the Panthers and was an all-conference selection in the 6A-West.
"I honestly can't wait to play in the all-star game," Sifuentes said. "It's one of the most important games I've taken place in, well, after the two state finals games. It feels great being one of the 44 players chosen out of the whole state. When we received our package for the all-star game, we got a card saying 'congratulations on our selection to the Arkansas All-Star team. You are now a member of an elite group of athletes.' Just reading that felt fantastic.
"It's also a bit nerve racking knowing all the players on the field will be some of the best players in the state."
Shull and Sifuentes helped the Panthers 21-5-1 record during 2017 and their second straight state title. The Panthers are 37-11-1 in two years under Crenshaw with two 6A state titles, and the 21 wins in 2017 were a single-season school record.
Crenshaw has previously coached three times in the Oklahoma All-State Game, which is a similar format to Arkansas' All-Star games.
Crenshaw will be joined on the West staff by Rogers head coach Stephen Peck, who led the Mounties to their first state soccer title with a 5-3 win over Springdale Har-Ber in the Class 7A state title game on May 20, Darren Chandler of Prairie Grove and Cory Sturdivant of Hot Springs.
The East Boys All-Stars will be coached by head coach Tyler Woods of Beebe and assistants Amanda Carter of Jonesboro Westside, Richard Friday of Bryant and Miguel Mondragon of Hamburg.
The head coach for the West girls is Bijan Timjani of Texarkana, whose Lady Razorbacks team lost to Siloam Springs 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state tournament in Siloam Springs on May 12. The West girls coaching staff will be Todd Eskola of Pulaski Robinson, Stephanie Mitchell of Prairie Grove and Michael Riba of Vilonia.
The East girls will be led by Larry Stamps of Searcy and assisted by Michael Klucher of North Little Rock, Kim Paslay of Brookland, and D.J. Vincent of Little Rock Parkview.Sports on 06/21/2017
Print Headline: All-Stars ready for soccer games