Parkwood Girls Soccer Off To Strong Start

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At A Glance
Parkwood High Girls Soccer
Conference: Rocky River Conference Class 2A
Coach: Nelson Garner
Between the Lines: In its first nine games, Parkwood has scored nine goals in three different wins. … The Rebels lone loss so far this season is a 3-1 setback to Porter Ridge. … Parkwood was 15-5 overall and 10-0 in conference play last season.
The Parkwood High girls soccer team has started conference play with a bang. Parkwood (6-1-2 overall) defeated West Stanley 9-0 and Forest Hills 9-0 to start Rocky River Conference play.
Parkwood played Monroe High March 27 and head coach Nelson Garner said the Rebels are taking the most of their scoring opportunities.

“Hopefully, we have a little momentum going,” said Parkwood girls soccer coach Nelson Garner. “The girls are finishing their chances, and that is not something we did well the first couple of games. But they have done a much better job of finishing the past couple of games.”
Garner said the strength of the team is the fact that the Rebels have solid senior leadership led by Riley Benito, Morgan McFarlane, Anna Boda, Brittany Springs, Raygen Smith and Aimee Duty.
Boda is a two-time Class 2A All-State player and she scored 15 goals as a junior. Springs had 13 goals during her junior season.
“We have some great seniors that have been around a little bit,” Garner said. “Anna is a huge leader for us.”

Junior Riley Cook earned all-conference honors last season after scoring 14 goals. Cook and Boda are the Rebels team captains.
Junior Katie Crews is also logging valuable minutes and she has played since her freshman year. Classmate Samantha Lavoie is playing well at forward for the Rebels.

“They are providing great leadership for us,” Garner said. “We have a big group of juniors that have been playing since they were freshman.”

Garner said having experienced players will be a big plus during what is expected to be another push to the Class 2A State Soccer Championships.
“The girls have all been around a little bit,” Garner said. “Two years ago, we advanced to the state quarterfinals, but last year we had a disappointing exit (second round). We have a good mixture of youth and experience.”

Benito is the Rebels Keeper and she has been a big part of four shutouts so far this season.  “She has a lot experience,” Garner said.

Garner said the Rocky River Conference is solid from top to bottom.
“The last couple of years it has come down to us and Central Academy,” Garner said. “They took it two years ago and we took it last years. I don’t see any reason why that should change again. They have a lot of experience back from their quarterfinal run last year. I think it will be an absolute fight to the finish.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at