Former Conway High soccer star Whitney Allison will take a team of Lady Cats to her old stomping grounds this evening with the hope they can claw their way to the school’s first girls soccer state championship.
The Lady Cats (21-0) will also try to cap off a perfect season.
The Lady Cats, the 7A-Central Conference champion, will play Bentonville (18-4-1), the West champ, for the state 7A championship at 8 o’clock tonight at Lady Back Yard in Fayetteville, where Allison played many a game for the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks.
The Lady Cats fairly comfortably handled Rogers and Fort Smith Southside in the early rounds.
"I can’t think of a better place for these girls to win a state championship," Allison said. "To win one is something these girls have been focused on and worked toward since we began practice."
Getting from Point A to Point B has been a challenge for Conway’s seniors, who are set to graduate at North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena at 2 p.m. today. The soccer title game was moved from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate graduation, but the Conway seniors still faced a tight schedule in traveling from North Little Rock to Fayetteville.
Johnny Allison, a Conway banking executive who is Whitney’s father, came to the rescue by offering to fly the Conway seniors and one junior, who is an usher, from Little Rock to Fayetteville’s Drake Field, which is minutes from the University of Arkansas.
"Johnny and a lot of people came together to make that happen and they just got it done," said Steve Daniels, CHS athletic director.
Conway and Bentonville were the favorites to get to this point as both dominated their conferences.
"Our two teams play two completely different styles of soccer," Allison said. "It will probably come down to which team can best play their style. We’ve been very good this season in playing our game. I think some of our strengths play to their weaknesses but I expect a tough match."
A major key will be the Lady Cats defense, which boasts possibly the best back line in the state and one of the top goalkeepers in Brittanie Ashcraft. Conway has only surrendered six goals in 21 games.
Bentonville is playing in its fourth straight girls state title game. The Lady Tigers won it in 2007 and 2009 and finished runner in 2008 and 2010.
"It’s be great to finish this season on a nice even number — 22," Allison said