EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
The Bryant Lady Hornets soccer team finally broke through with a pair of victories last week and, as head coach Doug Maxwell asserted, “they came at the right time.”
By notching a 2-1 win in double overtime over Cabot on Tuesday, April 15, then shutting out the North Little Rock Lady Wildcats, 4-0, on Thursday, April 17, the Lady Hornets clinched a bid to the Class 7A State Tournament in Bentonville starting Saturday, April 26.
Unfortunately, the struggles of the Hornets continued. They suffered a 7-0 loss to Conway on Monday, April 14, then a 2-1 loss to Cabot on Tuesday, and a 5-1 setback at the hands of North Little Rock on Thursday..
The two teams were set to celebrate Senior Night at their Monday, April 21, home finale against Russellville before closing out the regular season at Little Rock Central on Tuesday, April 26.
“We’ve had a lot of one-point games, games that went back-and-forth and three overtime games this year,” Maxwell related. “But the offense is finally starting to click and my defense has been playing pretty good, pretty solid much of the year, pretty consistent. We’ve just struggled to put points up and it’s started to happen at the right time.”
Indeed, the four goals that the Lady Hornets mustered in their showdown with North Little Rock — the winner would clinch a bid to State — was a season high, sparked by sophomore Haley Montgomery, who had a hat trick with three goals. Amber Moskow had the fourth to go along with an assist. Randi Whittaker also contributed an assist.
“Knowing the situation, North Little Rock had pretty much gone into a defensive mode,” Maxwell said. “They came out with six defenders against us similar to what they’d done against (league powers) Mount St. Mary’s and Central and Conway when they held all of those teams down to 1-0 games.
“We came out fighting for a playoff lives,” he said.
The Lady Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the first half then scored three times in the second half.
“Megan Childress, my goalkeeper, did a great job,” Maxwell stated. “It was another solid game for her. The defense really kind of kept things down at the other end, did not give (North Little Rock) very many scoring opportunities.
“They did get one breakaway opportunity in the second half,” he mentioned. “There was a foul inside the penalty box and they wound up with a PK when the game was 2-0. If they’d scored, it could’ve shifted the momentum but Megan stopped it, just shut it down point-blank and saved the shutout for us.”
In the win over Cabot, the Lady Hornets led 1-0 at the half only to have Cabot tie it in the second half and force an overtime.
“Cabot had taken Mount St. Mary’s into double overtime and lost and lost to Central in an overtime game,” Maxwell mentioned, “so they were coming in pretty strong.
“We were battling back and forth in overtime,” he added. “It was a windy game so the wind was a factor. Monday, we were fortunate to get the wind at our back in the first overtime and I think it gave us a little more confidence. Tuesday night, we weren’t as lucky. Cabot won the toss and took the wind at their backs so we were facing a good strong head wind.
“We get a ball played outside that Stacey Waits, one of my freshmen who happened to be playing right wing for us, gets a great cross that comes across the middle and Haley Montgomery connects on it,” Maxwell recounted. “We score that one and everybody’s excited and everything, but then it gets called back. We still don’t know what the call was. That was a little disheartening there.”
But, a minute later, Montgomery scored again off an assist from Whittaker and it stood for the victory.
“That put us back in the playoff race and gave us some confidence,” Maxwell noted. “The girls were fired up.”
The two wins were set up by a battle with Conway which ended regulation play and the first overtime in a scoreless tie. Conway finally put in a goal in the second overtime.
“It was a pretty solid game for us,” Maxwell related. “The girls had been playing well as of late but we struggled as far as keeping anything going. I think we gained a lot of confidence being able to hold Conway which is one of the top three teams in the conference and ranked number six or seven in the state right now.
“I thought we did a good job,”he added. “Our defense did a solid job. We had several scoring opportunities but we had some misses. We hit the post twice on our shots and, for the first time in probably three weeks, we had more than one corner kick opportunity in a game. It really got us fired up that we played well.”
In the boys’ loss to Cabot, Sean Sobba scored Bryant’s goal. Against North Little Rock, Jonathan Lowery accounted for the Hornets’ lone goal.