PINE BLUFF — The first half was not yet three-fourths of the way through and the Bryant Hornets[more] already had a 6-0 lead on the Pine Bluff Zebras in their South Conference soccer match on Thursday night.
Before the half was through, it was 7-0 and Bryant head coach Jason Hay had pulled all of his starters and instructed his team to work on everything except scoring.
The 7-0 lead held through an abbreviated second half as the Hornets improved to 3-0 in league play and 8-1-1 overall going into spring break.
Junior forward Bryce Denker scored four goals increasing his total to 14 over 10 matches this season. His first goal came before the match was a minute old. It came off a feed from Dylan Wolf. Before the game was two minutes old, Wolf had added a goal.
At the 24-minute mark, Denker banged home his second goal off an assist from Justin Travis. Ten minutes later, Wolf found the range again with Denker getting the save. Wolf returned the favor less than a minute later as Denker got the hat trick.
The sixth goal was knocked in by Travis with Bryan Oldham supplying the assist with 11 minutes left in the half.
The final goal came with six minutes to go when Oldham fed Denker for his fourth goal.
After that reserves took over for the Hornets, finishing out the half and playing the 20-minute second half.
“I thought we played well,” Hay said. “We played the ball on the ground and we were patient. We weren’t out there just trying to go, go, go. And the goals came quicker because we were more patient, moved the ball around and took what they gave us.”
It was the Hornets’ seventh shutout this season. They’ve given up just two goals, one on a penalty kick, in their last eight outings.
“Alex Denker did a good job at keeper with Slade Lewis still out,” Hay mentioned. Lewis was injured in a collision during the Hornets’ match at Benton on Tuesday night.
There was no girls game between Bryant and Pine Bluff because Pine Bluff doesn’t field a girls soccer team.
Bryant returns to action on Tuesday, March 26, against Little Rock J.A. Fair, which also doesn’t field a girls team and has struggled to keep enough players for a boys team in years past. The Hornets and Lady Hornets host Sheridan on Friday, March 29.