Dream match-ups rarely pan out but that’s exactly what has happened in the 7A boys state soccer tournament.
Northside and Springdale meet at 8 p.m. at Razorback Field Friday night.
The Grizzlies (25-1-0) rolled through the regular season while the Bulldogs (15-3-0) were an upset to rival Har-Ber away from another 7A-West title.
“They’re quick, they’re fast,” Springdale senior Alan Garcia said. “They put in a lot of hard work. They’re just a good team as well.”
“They’re the defending state champions from last year so this year we are trying to beat them,” Northside senior Luis Landin said. “Play hard as a team and come out with the win.”
Springdale may have the pressure on them since they are the defending state champion but they are trying to make the most of it.
“I feel like we do have a bit of the pressure but I’m not worried about it,” Springdale senior Jorge Gonzalez said. “I feel like my teammates are going to handle it well and we might even use that as a bigger motivation to get another title.”
“After the loss to Har-Ber in the conference championship we were really looking to redeem ourselves and kind of redeem our season so we knew the state tournament was the opportunity to do that ,” Springdale coach Donald Beeler said.
Northside coasted through the regular season. The Grizzlies were perfect in the 7A/6A-Central to win their first ever league title but things haven’t been quite as easy in the postseason. Northside beat Bryant 2-1 in extra time in the semi-finals.
“There were moments when we let down and we weren’t the team that we can be but in overtime we showed that we had more heart and desire to win and the outcome showed it,” Northside senior Sergio Martinez said.
Mauricio Maciel is in his first year as the Grizzlies coach but he said the little things could be the difference.
“I think what it’s going to take to win the championship is everybody working together,” Maciel said. “We do have depth on our bench and something we try to get the guys to do is go out there and play very hard.”