By Chris Morgan
Drawing the goalkeeper to the right side of the net, Bryant Hornet forward Jhorman Cruz crossed the ball straight across the box to winger Alberto Rodarte. Rodarte with a wide-open goal took an awkward shot spinning the ball just left of the goal, missing an early scoring chance.
“I pulled his out early, I think missing the shot got in his head,” coach Richard Friday said. “I told him just go out and relax you will have another shot.”
This would end up being the case for Rodarte as he would later come back in the second half to lead off the scoring for the night, as the Hornets rolled to a 2-0 clean sheet victory over Fort Smith Southside.
Rodarte’s miss with 35:57 left in the first half, precluded to a strong night for the Hornets’ front men.
With both teams trading drives, the Mavericks found themselves in the Hornets back third when Bryant keeper Arron Sahlmann took an apparent accidental kick to the face and needed to be pulled from the match under concussion protocol. The Mav keeper was given a yellow card for endangerment, and back-up keeper Adolfo Martinez was called on with 15:03 left in the half.
With 9:30 left to go in the half, the Hornets defense had an apparent breakdown giving Southside an opportunity to score but the Mavericks failed to find the back of the net.
Southside was given a free kick, a 34-yard opportunity to score, which was saved by a returning Sahlmann and booted down the middle of the field.
Now in the last two minutes of the half, the Hornets were given a free kick one yard off the 18-yard box. The crossing pass was headed by Cruz sailing just over the top of the goal.
The Hornets headed into the half with 0-0 tie but with confidence knowing they had chances to score.
Only three minutes into the second half, the Hornets were awarded a free kick on the left side of the 18-yard box. Winger Alan Delgadillo crossed the free kick across into the box finding defender Chris Fuller, whose headed shot went high over the goal.
With 33:54 left in the match, Rodarte found his confidence back with a bottom right strike in the back of the net off of a Martin Ramirez assist.
The Hornets would find the net again soon after, with 27:35 left, Ramirez booted the ball to Cruz, finding the lower left corner of the net and securing the Hornets a two-goal lead.
At 23:52, Cruz had a long run past the Mav defense, beating five Southside defenders, sending a shot to the keeper and, on the rebound, attempted to make a flying bicycle shot missing high right.
“We worked hard this week getting into the final third and finishing,” Friday said. “We got into the final third a little more in the second half. But another clean sheet. We [also] scored two goals that we did not need the referees’ help.”
The team carried this 2-0 lead to the end of the match, moving their record to 6-2-3 on the season (3-1 in conference). Next, the Hornets face Cabot on Tuesday, April 3.