The Harrison High School soccer teams ended Saturday with many ‘what-ifs’ to consider.
What if the Lady Goblins had been able to slip in even one goal against a Shiloh Christian team that they dominated in two regular-season meetings? Or, what if the Harrison boys didn’t allow Little Rock Christian Academy to re-take the lead shortly after tying the game?
Harrison will have about nine long months to think those things over after both teams suffered one-goal losses in the Arkansas Activities Association Class 5A state title games. The Lady Goblins lost 1-0 to Shiloh Christian, while the Harrison boys fell 2-1 to Little Rock Christian Academy at Razorback Field in Fayetteville, Ark.
"I wish we could go back and change it and were state champs... it's not a good feeling, but here we are," said Chris Pratt, head coach of both Harrison teams. "We're one of two teams that were in the final and we're proud of that. It's something to build on for next year."
On the girls’ side, Harrison beat Shiloh Christian by a combined margin of 13-3 in two regular season conference matchups.
But the ball seemingly refused to bounce Harrison’s way the third time around. Taylor Michaelis scored off a rebound about 17 minutes into the second half for the lone goal of the game that would end up giving Shiloh Christian its first state title in girls’ soccer.
"They had one quality opportunity they capitalized on," Pratt said. "They sat back, had a great game plan, and stuck to it."
Harrison (20-3-1 overall) finished with a 7-3 edge in shots on goal, including 4-0 in the first half.
"I think we hit four posts in the game," Pratt said. "Last time we played them, those were goals and it's a different story at the end of the game."
In the second game, Harrison trailed 1-0 at halftime but struck quickly once play resumed. Sean Cone’s goal 45 seconds into the second half tied it 1-1.
But Little Rock Christian Academy answered almost just as fast, scoring about three minutes later on Jess Smith’s second goal of the game.
Harrison was on the attack for most of the final 25 minutes, but the LRCA defense made the lead stand. The Goblins were a surprise state finalist this year, ending their season 13-10 overall.
Harrison won boys’ state titles in 2008, and five straight seasons from 2002-06. The Lady Goblins won state titles in 2002, 2004 and 2011. Arkansas started state soccer tournaments in 1998.
"I told them they were champions in our eyes," Pratt said. "Unfortunately, they don't have that first-place trophy to show everybody in the rest of the state. But they left everything on the field and played their guts out, so we're proud of them and we feel like they're champions in their own right."
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