Dylan Wolf scored in the first two minutes of the match and the Bryant Hornets made it stand up for a 1-0 win over the Van Buren Pointers Tuesday night, clinching a bid to the Class 7A State Tournament in Cabot.
It was do-or-die for the Hornets who will open play at State on Thursday, May 14, at 2 p.m., against the third seed from the 7A-West Conference, probably Rogers.
In an intense battle, the Hornets took 15 shots. Krishna Gurung assisted on Wolf’s goal.
“We came out and Dylan scored and I really thought we might blow it wide open but — the good thing is we shot the ball a ton,” stated Hornets coach Jason Hay. “The bad thing is that we hit the post about five times. We had so many chances and we just couldn’t finish. But, in the last couple of weeks, we haven’t even had those chances so we were just a little off.”
Still much of the first half was played on Bryant’s end of the field.
“We had them on their heels,” Hay acknowledged. “I thought our kids played really, really hard. We’ve got some guys that are still out (injured) and I thought, in the second half, we got a little bit gassed. We let them back in just a little bit.”
The defense was stellar for the Hornets. Keeper Hayden Ray had 17 saves.
Van Buren appeared to get a score late in the game.
“It was an indirect free kick,” Hay said. “It has to be touched by somebody else so it didn’t count.
“No matter what, we’re in the State tournament,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter if it’s ugly, it’s a win.”
The Hornets will conclude the regular season this Friday at home against Greenwood. It will be Senior Night.
“I hope we can send them off winners in their last game at the Stadium,” Hay said.
In a junior varsity match, Bryant prevailed 3-1, finishing the season undefeated with three ties.
“The boys played a good game and possessed the ball for most of the game,” said Bryant assistant Clint Shadwick. “We had a couple of goals on crosses, which is what we try to do.”
Andy Doonan scored two of the goals. James Lasley had the other. Kobe Ray, Johnny Nevares and Reese Graham each had an assist.