CONWAY -- Andrew Post couldn't resist.
The Greenwood girls soccer coach -- long tormented by the Siloam Springs Lady Panthers over the years -- sat down on the bench in between soccer all-stars Megan Hutto, Brooklyn Buckminster and Sydney Bomstad and took out his cell phone.
"I've got to take a photo with you guys," Post said last Friday in the final minutes of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Girls Soccer Game at Estes Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. Post was an assistant coach for the West while Hutto, Buckminster and Bomstad all started for the West team.
Bonding with the enemy -- it happens a lot during the annual All-Star week. Coaches and players of opposing teams and rivals join sides for a brief time.
"I told them before introductions that I had nightmares about a lot of them," Post said. "You know as an opposing coach you have a perspective of a player. I always knew they were really good players. Deep down you don't dislike them, but when you coach against them it's a different perspective. So to be able to be on the same team and coach them was a great experience. They're phenomenal young ladies."
All three Lady Panthers in the game played a role in the West's 6-4 victory over the East. Buckminster scored her first career hat trick and was named the West's Most Outstanding Player, while Hutto also had a goal. Bomstad played half the game as the West's starting goalkeeper.
"I really enjoyed coaching them and getting to know them and their personalities," Post said. "It was such a surreal experience to root for the players you've been rooting against for so many years. It was a great experience. That's why I love doing the all-star game because you get those types of experiences, and they're great girls. I really enjoyed coaching them."
For the players, it was an interesting experience playing with club teammates and against past rivals.
"I enjoyed playing with other girls that you're normally competing with," Buckminster said. "Then you come together as a team and you get to make new friends."
"You see a different side of them," Hutto added.
Bomstad said she enjoyed the all-star experience.
"I was a little nervous, but it's been really good getting to know these players and playing with them and just putting all the pieces together," Bomstad said. "It was a lot of fun."
From Russellville with love
Consider Russellville coach Jared Fuller a fan of Jack Bos.
Fuller, head boys soccer coach of the 6A state champion Cyclones and longtime rival of Siloam Springs, said he enjoyed getting to know the former Panther standout this past week.
Fuller has had to figure out ways to deal with Bos on the soccer field as his opponent the last four years. But as a West assistant coach last Friday, he got the opportunity to coach him.
"I just don't like playing against him because he's so good," Fuller said. "Great kid -- fantastic all week. I know (former Siloam Springs coach Brent) Crenshaw was here last year coaching some of my kids. I'll say the same thing he said. We didn't have any trouble out of any of them. They're all great. Kudos to the parents for raising them.
"But (Bos is) a standout for how he interacts with other players, the respect he gives coaches and the game. It was just a joy to be here."
Bos and Russellville defender Marcos Miranda played together on the West's defensive front and helped their team to a 1-0 shutout victory over the East.
Fuller said Miranda had some apprehension going into the week about playing with his rival Bos.
"My center back Marcos said, 'Eh, I don't know if I can play with Jack,'" Fuller said. "I said, 'You don't like him because how hard he fouls you and how hard he plays against you and how good of a player he is. Now he's on your team.' So they hit it off this week and loved playing together."
Bos was named the MVP of the game, which is the last of his high school career before going to play soccer at John Brown.
"What a way to go out," Bos said. "I'm happy."
Bos said he enjoyed the all-star experience.
"Coming into it, I was a little iffy on it," he said. "But it was a blast. Getting to know all these guys I've played against all these years. It's been so much fun."
Harrison coach enjoys coaching Sharp
Like Post and Fuller, Harrison volleyball coach April Mattix enjoyed her time coaching Shaylon Sharp in the All-Star Volleyball Match.
"I've watched Shay for a while," said Mattix, who was West head coach. "I've watched that Ozark Juniors team and watched Siloam Springs for a long time. They are a great group. It's a great opportunity to be around Shay. She's got a great personality."
Mattix was pleased that Sharp was able to bounce back from a torn ACL -- suffered between her junior and senior seasons -- and return to have a strong senior year. Sharp missed the first meeting against Harrison this past season but she returned for the second matchup against the Lady Goblins.
"She was on fire," Mattix said. "I was really worried how's she going to come back from that. That's just a passionate kid fighting back from something like that. She could have just said I'm not going to, take the easy way out, but she didn't."
Sharp started for the West and contributed eight kills and three digs in three sets played. The West defeated the East 4-1 (22-25, 25-20, 25-0, 26-24 and 15-8).
Sharp got to play with her Ozark Juniors teammates Timber Riley (Bentonville), Hannah Martin (Rogers), Emily Harris (Rogers), Haley Warner (Fayetteville) and Isabella Gibbany (Harrison) on the West team. But she also got to play with some former opponents.
Libero/defensive specialist Lexie Castillow of Greenwood -- who has turned away many Siloam Springs attacks over the years -- earned MVP honors with 20 digs.
"She's such a good player," Sharp said of Castillow. "Well-deserving of that MVP for sure."
Sharp said she also enjoyed playing with Caitlin Murdock of Benton.
"We've always been rivals, Benton and Siloam volleyball I guess, so it was cool to meet her and play with her," she said.Sports on 06/27/2018
Print Headline: Bonding with the enemy