Bryant girls blank Fayetteville in battle of first-place teams

RUSSELLVILLE — With no conference games scheduled on Friday, the Bryant Lady Hornets took the opportunity to go halfway meet a team that, like them, is among the best in the state. Halfway being approximately Russellville, that’s where the Lady Hornets squared off against the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs.

With their seventh shutout of the season, a goal early on and another close to the end, the Lady Hornets extracted a 2-0 victory to improve to 12-1 on the season.

“I thought the girls worked hard but thought we could have played better soccer,” said Bryant coach Julie Long. “Obviously, anytime you play a good team and win it’s usually a good day.

“I think it gave us a good idea of where we are and what key things we need to work on,” she added. “(Fayetteville) is tied right now for first in the West Conference. I’m glad we got a chance to play them to see what exactly needed to be worked on. It gave the girls higher goals for themselves, which makes them keep working.”

Fayetteville is tied with Bentonville atop the 7A-West standings. They two teams meet Tuesday to complete the first round of their home-and-home league schedule.

Bryant, meanwhile, will play an important 7A/6A-Central Conference contest at Van Buren on Tuesday, a Class 7A foe in a game that will help determine bids to State, which Bryant hosts this year.

Anna Lowery gave the Lady Hornets the early lead against Fayetteville. She followed up a teammate’s miss and scored at 34:26 of the first half.

With keeper Maddie Hawkins making four saves along the way, Bryant kept the Lady Bulldogs off the scoreboard. The 1-0 lead held at the half and through more than 39 minutes of the 40-minute second half. With :29 showing, Caroline Campbell put the finishing touches on the win with the second goal.

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