RUSSELLVILLE — Thirteen proved fortunate for the Bryant Hornets soccer team.[more]
In 12 meeting all time, no Hornets team had ever been able to earn a victory over the Russellville Cyclones dating back to 1999. But, on Tuesday night, the 2012 Hornets turned the tide with a 2-1 win.
The match was tied 1-1 when, with just over 15 minutes left to play, Justin Travis took a free kick for Bryant. It was wide to the right of the goal to the back post. But Josh Lowery got to the ball and knocked it into the goal.
Russellville had a chance to tie it with 24 seconds left with a free kick just outside of the 18.
“They took the kick and we cleared the ball but the ref called it back because Russellville had kicked the ball early,” recounted Hornets head coach Jason Hay.
But even with the second chance, the Cyclones couldn’t find the net as the Hornets cleared the ball again to hang on for the win.
“Russellville was the only team that our seniors had never beaten,” Hay noted. “We have held the lead going into the final 10 or 20 minutes against them several times. We’ve lost on (shootout) PK’s, given up a late free kick, or even given them a PK. Something always seemed to happen in the end.
“I’m proud of the guys for finally finding a way past them,” he added.
The first half of the contest was scoreless but Russellville scored in the opening moments of the second half.
“A ball popped over the top of our back line,” Hay recalled. “Our kids did a good job of not getting their heads down after the goal.
“We played well the first half,” he mentioned. “We moved the ball around quickly and had possession most of the half. We had several good shots on goal and could not get one to go in.”
After falling behind, however, the Hornets wasted little time tying it up. Bryce Denker hit the mark with 34:35 left.
“Chase Stuart took the ball down the field and made a great pass in front of the goal to Bryce,” Hay noted.
The Hornets had started the 7A/6A-Central Conference season with a pair of tough losses, but have now bounced back to even their mark at 2-2. They improved to 7-2 overall but another longtime nemesis looms. They travel to Conway this Friday.