SPORTS>> Cabot soccer shuts out JHS
Leader sports editor
The Cabot Panther boys and girls soccer teams swept Jacksonville for the second time this season, and this time it really meant something.
New rules for this season state that conference teams will play each other twice during the regular season, but only the second meeting between each school will count towards the conference record.
Monday’s Cabot victories, 8-0 for the boys and 4-0 for the girls, gives both teams a 1-0 record against AAAAA-East competition.
“That’s the way the rules are, but that’s not how we approach things,” Cabot boys coach Clark Bing said. “We’ve gone into every game with an attitude to play as hard as we can to get the win. Maybe some teams haven’t been as intense about the first meetings, but that’s not how we’ve done it.”
The rules, however, aren’t lost on Bing, who recognizes the magnitude of the upcoming stretch of matches against conference rivals, Searcy, Sylvan Hills, Jonesboro and Mountain Home, all within the next two weeks.
“It’s a very important stretch for us,” Bing said. “We did ok the first time through, but we’ve gotten a chance to watch some film and see some things that we needed to work, and now’s the time to go out and execute it.”
Execute it they did Monday night, piling on five goals before halftime en route to the blowout victory over a short-handed Jacksonville team.
Bing knew that the Red Devils were missing a few key players, but was still pleased with how his team executed.
“Jacksonville is a quality team,” Bing began. “I don’t know the whole situation as far as why they were missing some guys, but they play really hard.
“They’re the best Jacksonville team I’ve seen in a while. They beat a Jonesboro team that we tied, so that says something. I just think this was one of our better games all year. The whole team played really well together. That’s been a strength of ours all year long, but it was really pretty good against Jacksonville.”
Sean Engin performed the hat trick with three goals to lead the Panthers Monday. Rodrigo Alves scored twice while Stuart Leiby, Jonathan Tapia and Chris Faber added one goal apiece.
Engin leads the team in scoring, but overall the Panthers have a balanced attack.
“It’s a plus when you don’t have to rely on one guy to carry you offensively, and we don’t have to do that,” Bing said. “We’ve got about six guys that can put it in the goal for us.”
Bing again went back to team unity as the key ingredient to success, and gave most of the credit to his senior class.
“We’re a real senior-laden team. We have 20 guys and 11 of them are seniors. I’m just really proud of the leadership they’ve shown and cohesiveness they bring to the team.”
The Lady Panthers also got a shutout win. Trina Bell scored with 12 minutes remaining in the second half to give Cabot all the goals it would need for the win.
Junior Kim Sitzmann added three more anyway to set the final margin.
The Cabot boys are 4-1-1 and the girls are 3-3 overall and all the games have been against fellow AAAAA-East teams, but because of the new rules, both teams are technically just 1-0.
Next up for Cabot is the return match against Searcy. The Lions are the only team to beat the Cabot boys this year, a 6-1 shellacking to kick off the season. The Panthers are 4-0-1 since that match, and hope for a better showing Thursday at Searcy.
“That was our first game and it was really an eye-opener,” Bing said. “You’d have to say Searcy is the favorite to win conference, and they gave us an early indication of where we would have to be to compete for it. I know we’ve gotten better since then, but it’s always tough to go to Searcy and get a win. We’re looking forward to it.”