By Aaron Shuttleworth
Photos by Rick Nation
Intensity: noun, the quality or state of being[more] intense.
It’s the only word to describe the game between the Bryant Hornets and the Catholic Rockets soccer teams at Bryant Stadium Tuesday night.
It was fasted-passed, action-packed, chippy, edgy — all the words to describe a summer blockbuster. But most of all it was a hard-played game where giving up was never in the cards. The Rockets, however, escaped with a 1-0 win.
Catholic came out with a corner kick that was headed right over the top rail at 36:23. Hornets keeper Jace Denker had a good forward sliding stop at 33:55. Forrest Fowler had a save at 31:35.
The Hornets went on the offensive strike at 29:43 with a free kick and a returning shot at 29:02 that just went wide to the left.
Bryce Denker broke free at 27:50 and made the Rocket keeper come forward and make the save. Back on the other side, Jace Denker saved a chip shot at 20:42.
It was a very fast-paced game and the ref was letting some bumping and pushing carry on, just letting the guys play it out.
Bryant’s Ryan Watson just had a shot miss at 16:52 left in the first half. Jace Denker had another save at 14:00.
The Hornets went back on the strike at 13:17 and shot from 45 yards out, but the ball just missed the target as it went a little high over the crossbar. A few minutes later, Chase Stuart’s shot it sailed wide to the left. Peter Alverio had a beautiful crossing shot into the six-yard box that was just stopped by the Rocket keeper in time.
Catholic scored with 1:08 left before halftime on a crossing play that soared into the box. Jace Denker deflected it but a Rockets player was there to pick up the trash and get it to the back of the net.
At the start of the second half, Bryce Denker set up a short free kick pass to Alverio who was in the box but got it taken away. Right after that, Justin Travis had a free kick for Bryant and tried the same thing hoping to catch the Rockets sleeping but it had the same outcome.
Watson had great pass inside the box to awaiting teammates but the Rockets’ keeper was able to subdue the attacks.
A corner kick for the Rockets at 20:18 almost hit the target but the headed ball went just to the left of the goal. Jace Denker had another great save at 14:20 left in the game. He ended the night with six saves.
With 11:01 to go, Watson passed the ball to Stuart who in turn passed it to Jesse Wolf on a bang-bang play. Wolf shot up the middle but the ball went right of the goal.
The Hornets kept the pressure on the Rocket defenders all night. The ball just would not get to the back of the net. The one time it did, the ref called it back for interference on Bryant for running into the Rocket keeper.
With time expiring quickly, the Rockets went into the delay play. The game ended with back to back corner kicks that just came up short both times.
The majority of the game was played on the Rockets’ side. The defenders did their job by clearing the ball out when it needed to be and the forwards did their job well too.
When two good teams play each other, someone has to win and someone has to lose. The Hornets were on the losing end this time. But their playing effort and intensity was not a loss.
“I thought we played well but just had a few breakdowns during the game that you cannot give a team like Catholic and expect to win,” said Hornets coach Jason Hay. “I thought our effort was good we just didn’t get it done.”
After starting the season 5-0, the Hornets have now dropped their first two 7A/6A-Central Conference matches in narrow defeats to two of the league’s tranditional powers. They’ll hope to get back on track at Van Buren this Friday.