Hornets in, Lady Hornets just miss post-season bid
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).
A 1-1 tie was good enough for the Bryant Hornets soccer team but not for the Lady Hornets as they closed out the regular season against Cabot on Tuesday, April 24.
The Hornets, who needed a win or a tie, secured a spot in the Class 7A State Tournament by earning the tie with Cabot. They were set to open tournament play against a highly-regarded Van Buren team on Saturday, April 28, at Conway.
It’s the first time since 2003 that the Hornets have played in the postseason.
The Lady Hornets, on the other hand, needed a win to reach State and the tie was not enough as their season concluded with the Cabot game which was marred by physical play and an irate Cabot fan, apparently the mother of one of the Lady Panthers players, marching onto the field in protest during a pause in the action.
Aaron Miller gave the Hornets a 1-0 lead with a goal midway through the first half.
“We had a couple of good shots,” recalled Hornets coach Kenny Horn. “We got a good rebound off to the right and Aaron was at the right place at the right time and he hit it home.”
It was 1-0 at the intermission but about eight minutes into the second half, Cabot tied it on the penalty kick.
“We got a bogus call,” Horn stated. “Then he didn’t even set the ball (for the penalty kick) to kick it. We didn’t get set and they got the goal.
“We had several shots at the goal but nothing went in after that,” added the coach. “But I knew if we tied we’d make the playoffs so the last eight or nine minutes, we loaded up on defense to make sure we’d keep it tied.
“At the beginning of the year, the goal was to make the playoffs,” Horn noted. “They had to beat Cabot the Friday before spring break, everybody was gone except for us and we pulled that win off. Then we needed to tie or win on Tuesday and the kids bowed up and got that done. That was the goal and they worked hard to get there.
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, when you don’t win many games it’s tough to keep your focus but you’ve got to keep competing and our kids do that. They got it done. They played extremely well the second half of the season, I thought. We played everybody a lot closer. You play in our conference and it’s a rough road. We competed and kept ourselves in a lot of games. We’re happy to be in.”
Of Van Buren, Horn said, “Somehow they finished third in the (7A-West) conference but they’re supposedly the number one team in the state and at one point they were ranked nationally. We heard they’re really fast. With us not being very fast, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
The Hornets enter with a 4-9-1 overall record.
The Lady Hornets finished with a 2-10-2 overall mark.
“We had a couple of opportunities,” stated Lady Hornets coach Doug Maxwell. “We had a girl one-on-one with their keeper and she clipped the ground as she started to go and dribbled one in. We had several shots, we had good looks on it. Unfortunately, the ball just went straight to the keeper every time.”
Cabot scored first, about midway through the first half.
“They had a shot and my keeper made a good diving save but when she came down the ball bounced a little bit,” Maxwell recounted. “They had a girl come in and kick it out of her hands and score.
“We had a good scoring opportunity, a chance to tie it up about 90 seconds later,” he continued. “There was a little pile-up, a little collision down there right in front of the goal but, unfortunately, there was no call there. It was just one of those things, feet got tied up. We thought we were going to get lucky and get a call off of that but we didn’t.”
So, the Lady Hornets trailed 1-0 at the break.
“We come out fired up for the second half,” Maxwell said. “We scored about eight minutes in. It was pretty much the same situation. We had a breakaway and we were about to go, there was a little collision from behind. This time we got the call and we got a p.k.”
Morgan Hart took advantage to tie the game up.
“From there we just had some missed opportunities,” the coach commented. “Things got a little heated there about midway through the second half. We had a little skirmish, had a couple of ejections. We had one mother that came down on the field.”
She eventually we escorted from the stadium by a campus resource officer.
“Unfortunately, we needed a win and we came up one point short,” Maxwell concluded.