Photos by Kevin Nagle
Tuesday night’s 4-0 shutout over Russellville was the second in a row and[more] ninth this season for the Bryant Lady Hornets. Last week’s was brought to you by the letter “O” for offense. This week, it was brought to you by the letter “D”. The defense looked rested but not rusty, hungry but not starving.
Because, let’s face it, if you were there last Thursday when Bryant beat Van Buren 7-0, you kind of forgot the field is 120 yards long. Last night, every inch of that field was used — well, all but the goal the Lady Hornets were in front of.
Shelby Gartrell got it started by firing a shot at 36:22, but it ended up being blocked. After a pair of unsuccessful corner kicks, at 21:54, the true meaning of teamwork was shown. Tarra Hendricks passed it to Rori Whittaker who, in turn, passed to Bailey Gartrell who kicked it towards the lower left corner of the goal. The ball slowly rolled in. Any one of them could have taken the shot for themselves and might have scored. But for not being selfish, they got the guaranteed goal.
At 5:17, Hendricks had a nice reaction bicycle kick that would have mirrored Wane Rooney but it was stopped. Reed, who was attacking the ball in the midfield with a passion, was sticking to the girl she was covering so well the Lady Cyclones had nothing to do but get rid of the ball.
With 1:17 left in the half, McKenzie Adams had a wicked nice shot that just soared over the top rail. One minute later, keeper Kaitlyn Miller had the save of the night as she ran out to get the ball, sliding, then kicked the ball out of bounds. The crowd rewarded her properly with cheers. She ended the night with five saves.
To start off the second half the right way, the Lady Hornets went right on the attack. Kaitlin Gaiser was pressuring and opening up gaps in the Lady Cyclone defense. At 36:32, Tarra Hendricks had a free kick from 32 yards out that sailed over the heads of the Lady Cyclones. There was nothing the keeper could do but watch it go into the back of the net.
The speed of London Abernathy was valuable as she was able to get to the ball faster than the Lady Cyclones and clear it out of danger.
Helping Miller were Lyndsay Brazil, Reed and Katie Moore. One thing that the Lady Hornets do have is depth. There is always someone to fill the gap. And keeping fresh legs on the field is always a key for Coach Julie Long.
The one point were the Lady Cyclones could have scored was when Miller charged to the ball, stopped it but fell. A Russellville player then took off with it. Miller, charging behind her trying to get it back, but Reed was there to cover the goal and clear it out of there. Miller back in goal, no harm done to the scoreboard.
Coach Long was very persistent in saying, “We need to play our game.” Their game was to not let the Lady Cyclones get in their heads. Not to give them a chance to score. Not to let them see Bryant’s side of the field.
The third goal of the night came from Shelby Gartrell off of a free kick at 13:17 by Hendricks. At 11:14, Hendricks was lined up to take another free kick. It was like deja vu. This time, she was lined up 33 yards from the goal. And just like the first one, it was an arcing kick that soared over the keeper’s head. She then looked to the sideline with a look like, “That? Oh, that was nothing.”
The Conway Lady Wampus Cats come into town Thursday night for a game that has been circled on the calendar since the beginning of the season. Conway is a strong force in the 7A division.