Hornets soccer team starts 5-0
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continue posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
The Bryant Hornets soccer team improved to 5-0 on the season with a 6-1 win over the Pine Bluff Zebras at Bryant Stadium on Monday, Feb. 21.
It was the second win over Pine Bluff this season for the Hornets, who defeated the Zebras 3-1 at UAPB on Thursday, Feb. 17.
Both boys and girls teams from Bryant competed in a tournament at El Dorado to officially open the season on Saturday, Feb. 12. The Hornets swept past the host team, 6-5, and Arkadelphia, 3-1, to capture the tourney title.
The event was supposed to include four teams but one of them dropped out. The Lady Hornets split two games, defeating El Dorado 5-1 after suffering a 2-1 loss to Arkadelphia.
The Bryant boys had previously defeated Benton in a benefit game on Monday, Feb. 7, 4-2, with the varsity teams playing the first half and the JV teams playing in the second half.
Both Bryant teams were scheduled to return to action at Bryant Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 24, against Little Rock Catholic and Mount St. Mary’s, respectively. It will be the AAAAA-Central Conference opener for both teams.
In their win at Pine Bluff, the Hornets scored first when Blake Taylor knocked a header in the net off a corner kick by Travis Cockerham. Michael Brandt added a second goal before Pine Bluff scored with less than 30 seconds left in the half.
The lone goal of the second half was kicked in by Bryant’s Gueorgui Tchamkoriyski.
At El Dorado, the Hornets opened a 3-0 lead in the first half on Arkadelphia. Cary Ball and Cockerham accounted for the first two goals. Shawn Stone scored the third one off a corner kick by Taylor.
In a thriller against El Dorado, the Hornets fell behind initially but Taylor scored a pair of goals (one on a penalty kick) to give Bryant the lead for good. Ball and Brandt, Tchamkoriyski added goals. A second goal by Brandt proved to be the difference in the end.
The Lady Hornets opened the event against Arkadelphia. “We played so-so,” said coach Doug Maxwell. “It was a pretty typical first game of the year. It took us a little while to make some runs and kind of put some combinations together. It got down close to the end, we were down 2-1 and just playing for the finals against them, said let’s not panic and we wound up losing.”
Maxwell said he expected to get a rematch after defeating El Dorado to decide the championship of the tournament but Arkadelphia left.
The lone Lady Hornets goal against Arkadelphia was scored by Mandi Howell off an assist from Sarah Bunten.
Against El Dorado, Bunten had two goals, Howell, Alden Manning and Morgan Hart had one each. Howell and Hart had assists.
“We pretty much dominated that game, controlled it,” Maxwell noted. “We were looking forward to the final after that but Arkadelphia packed up and left.”