LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets soccer team heads into its 7A/6A-Central Conference opener this Friday after a splendid performance Saturday, capturing the Little Rock Christian Academy Invitational Tournament championship.
The Hornets edged Hot Springs Lakeside 1-0 to advance to the title match against the host Warriors. Despite an injury to starting forward Ricky Barrientos, Bryant prevailed over Little Rock Christian 2-0 to earn the title.
The Hornets have now won five matches in a row and improved to 6-1 overall going into Friday’s long trip to Siloam Springs for the league lid-lifter.
“Ricky got hurt early so we had others step up,” noted Hornets coach Jason Hay. “We played hard despite the wet surface.”
The Hornets grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 16:00 mark of the first half when Luis Lara fed Martin Ramierez for a goal. That score held until the half and 17 minutes into the second half when Luke Welch found the range off an assist from Krishna Gurung.
Keeper Logan Valestin had a save along the way as the Hornets’ defense produced the shutout.
Valestin had two saves in the win over Lakeside. The lone goal of the contest came with just 4:00 left in the first half. Danny Vivar set up Andy Doonan who rifled a shot past the Rams’ keeper.
“Lakeside was very physical,” Hay mentioned. “We played well. We had several shots go off the post and their defense and keeper made some good saves.”
In fact, the Hornets attempted a whopping 23 shots.
“We played well despite not scoring but one,” Hay said. “We had opportunities, which just had some unlucky finishes.”
Looking ahead, the coach related, “We need to get rested and healthy for the first conference game on the long trip to Siloam Springs.