Bryant boys capture key victory at Van Buren

VAN BUREN — Calling it his team’s best effort since a 3-2 win over Cabot a month before, Bryant Hornets head soccer coach Jason Hay lauded his team for its 3-0 win over the Van Buren Pointers on Tuesday night.

Ricky Barrientos scored two goals and the defense shined in the shutout that improved the Hornets to 5-6-1 overall this season and 2-2 in the 7A/6A-Central Conference but, most importantly, 1-2 against 7A teams in the league. The four 7A teams in the league, in their bid for three State tournament berths, only count matches against their 7A counterparts toward that goal.

“Our seniors knew how important this game was and stepped their play up,” Hay noted. “Van Buren is a long drive. You never know how kids will react to the trip. The kids came prepared to get it done. We controlled the game and had a ton of scoring opportunities that we have not had the last couple of games.”

Along with Barrientos, who was assisted by Houston Clifton on one goal and Corey Ballew on the other, Dylan Wolf scored off a penalty kick.

“Ballew and Wolf controlled the mid and (Collin) Campbell and (Jack) Buck shut down the Van Buren offense,” Hay related.

Keeper Hayden Ray had six saves with Campbell, Buck, Logan Moore and Connor Qualls playing the back four defender spots.

Bryant’s junior varsity also won, 2-0, on goals by Jhorman Cruz and Johnny Nevares. Dawson Oakley assisted on both.

“The defense never gave them a chance at a goal,” noted Bryant assistant Clint Shadwick. “Logan Valestin had eight saves and John Sohn had one save.”

The Hornets are set to travel to Russellville on Friday for a conference match against the 6A Cyclones.

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