RUSSELLVILLE -- For the second straight year, Siloam Springs' boys found themselves in a battle with Little Rock Hall in the Class 6A state tournament.
After going up 1-0 in the second half and then giving up a Hall equalizer, the Panthers found a way to manufacture one more goal and walk out of Cyclone Stadium with a 2-1 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state tournament.
Julio Maldanado's goal with 20 minutes, 39 seconds left in the game came just 39 seconds after Hall's Yarli Jiron scored to tie the game at 1-1. It was a much needed score for the No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Panthers, according to coach Brent Crenshaw.
"I was afraid we were going the other way because we were bickering and fighting with each other after that (Hall) goal," Crenshaw said. "Proud of Julio. That's what we've been looking for from him all year. He's so fast and aggressive."
The Panthers advanced to Saturday's semifinal game against Benton. Results were not available at presstime.
After a scoreless first half, Siloam Springs finally cracked the scoring column with 28:29 left in the second half when Christian Marroquin battled through Hall defenders in the box, stayed with the ball and got a shot past Hall keeper Carlos Fabian.
Siloam Springs goalkeeper Wyatt Church came up with a clutch save shortly after to keep the Panthers in front, and they almost made it 2-0 on the other end but Jack Bos's shot sailed over the cross bar.
Hall tied it up when Jiron found himself wide open in front of the net with 21:18 left to tie the game 1-1.
"He's been a strong forward for us all season," Hall coach Mike Schlieff said. "We've had more than our share of shots. Finally we got one to finish. I was proud of the way he finished."
It was another tough loss for Hall against the Panthers, who defeated the Warriors in penalty kicks at Panther Stadium last season to advance to the 6A state championship game.
"They have a very good program," Schlieff said of Siloam Springs. "It's always fun when we get to see them. We were looking forward to this game all season long. We were trying to prepare for it. They got lucky and got our number again this year. Next season we'll see them again and hopefully it will be on our side."
Crenshaw credited Hall with being a strong side.
"They're a good team," Crenshaw said. "They've got good individual players. They always give us a hard time."
It wasn't the best performance for the Panthers, but they'll take it in postseason play.
"Overall we didn't play great, but this time of year if we do it just enough to win, that's all that matters," Crenshaw said. "Win and get to the next one."Sports on 05/12/2018
Print Headline: Siloam Springs boys take down Little Rock Hall