Bryant girls end long wait to get back on the field, get back on track with win

SHERIDAN — With 10 days off after their disappointing and unexpected 3-2 loss at Little Rock[more] Central, the Bryant Lady Hornets were anxious to get back on the field and take it out on somebody.

As it turned out, that somebody was from Sheridan. Bryant blanked the Lady Jackets 7-0, building a 6-0 lead by halftime and invoking the sportsmanship rule that cut the second-half time in half on Thursday night.

Shelby Gartrell, Jacie McMahan and Anna Lowery each had two goals in the game. Bailey Gartrell contributed the seventh to go with a pair of assists.

“That Central game’s been hanging over us,” said Lady Hornets coach Julie Long whose team had a match with Searcy rained out on April 18.. “But I think it’s definitely been a good thing for us. The talk, from the beginning, was just to come out tomorrow and get better. I had them all pick something that they wanted to get better at, that they didn’t do very well. That’s going to be the big focus.”

Regarding Thursday’s game, Long said, “I was a little disappointed in their communication but their ball movement, at times, looked really, really good. They’re still moving well. We still get caught up in playing other teams’ games and not our game sometimes but, for the most part, they played really well. The effort was there the whole time.”

The win improved the Lady Hornets to 14-2-1 overall and 7-0 in the South Conference. They entered the game second to Bentonville in the point standings that will determine the seeding for the Class 7A State Tournament from the 7A-West Conference. Bryant will be seeded with the West teams as the only 7A team in the South.

Weather permitting, Bryant is set to host Texarkana Friday evening in another South contest going into the final week of the regular season.

“They know what they’re shooting for right now,” Long said of her players. “Not that we’re overlooking these next games but our big focus right now is just getting ready for State. We’re trying to do everything to tune up and get ready.”

It look only about five minutes for the Lady Hornets to secure the lead on Sheridan. The Gartrell twins combined on the goal with Bailey assisting.

With around 27 minutes left in the first half, Kara Taylor fed McMahan for the second goal and that sparked a flurry for Bryant. Three minutes later, Taylor assisted on Shelby Gartrell’s second goal and around five minutes after that, Lowery scored off a feed from Morgan Hawkins to make it 4-0.

With about 10 minutes to go in the half, Shelby returned the favor with an assist to Bailey then McMahan drove an unassisted goal past the keeper to make it 6-0.

Lowery added a goal with around a minute left in the abbreviated second half. Tori Rose earned the assist on the play.

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