April 30 in Bryant athletic history: 2011

Hornets claim long-awaited win over Rockets

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, BryantDaily.com will be 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).

By Aaron Shuttleworth

Photos by Kevin Nagle

“First they ignore you. Second they laugh at you. Third they fight you. Finally, you win.” – Gandhi

On Friday night, the Bryant Hornets beat the Little Rock Catholic Rockets for the first time since[more] the soccer program was started in 1997.

Bryant's Jace Denker goes hit to save a goal under duress from a Catholic player. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The two teams battled to a 1-1 tie in regulation then Bryant won it on penalty kicks in a 5-3 shootout. The Hornets bounced back in a big way from a 3-0 loss at Russellville earlier in the week. They are now 10-9-1 overall and 5-5 in 7A/6A-Central Conference play going into a busy week.

They play at Van Buren on Monday, at Conway on Tuesday, host Cabot for Senior Night on Thursday before wrapping up the regular season on Monday, May 9, at North Little Rock.

“I thought we played very well,” said Hornets head coach Jason Hay. “It was a much better effort than Monday night. We must be ready for a marathon week coming up. There’s still a lot to play for and a chance to improve our seeding for the State tournament.”

Ben Stukenborg (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

The boys Class 7A State Tournament will be played at North Little Rock starting May 13.

The Hornets started early, really setting the tempo of the game. At 33:03, Bryce Denker set up for a corner kick. He sent it to Alex Rowlan, who headed it to Jesse Wolf. Wolf shot up the middle but a Rocket defender just stopped it. Reed Evans had a free kick at 29:34 just go right up the middle but it was stopped short of the goal.

The first goal of the night came at 21:43 from Forest Fowler off of penalty kick. He set up the ball as the crowd went silent. He shot and the ball went upper middle to the left while the keeper went low left. 1-0, Bryant.

During the first half, Hornets Holden Chavis, Alex Rowlan, and Caleb Garrett were playing their positions to a tee. At 13:27, the Rockets had a corner kick that was beautifully stopped by keeper Jace Denker. He ended the night with 10 saves.

With time running down in the first half, Wolf sent a crossing shot to Bryce Denker, who tried a bicycle kick but missed.

At the start of the second half, the Rockets came out in full force. They had the Hornets back peddling and were starting to get in their heads a bit.

When the Hornets went back on offense, they took every chance they could to get another point on the board. At 35:48, Ben Stukenborg crossed it over to Rowlan who shot but it just went inches over the top rail. Alec Salminen was doing everything he needed to do in the midfield to disrupt the Rocket offense.

The Rockets got on the board at 18:34 of the second with a shot that split two Hornet defenders. Jace Denker dove but the ball went into the mid-right of the goal.

After that, the game was getting a little chippy. Both teams were seeing just how much they could get away with, and with the officials not blowing the whistle, aggression escalated. The ref finally called something and gave both teams a yellow card at 13:39.

At 3:20, Bryant’s Jose Vazquez passed up the middle to Chase Stuart who shot but the attempt went just wide to the right. Everyone was on their feet for that shot.

Evans had a free kick at 1:47 that sailed 45 yards but was headed out of the way by a Rocket defender.

The last flurry of offense came at :21 when Stukenborg passed to Vazquez who passed to Stuart. He tried again but it went wide left this time.

With the game tied 1-1 after regulation it was time for penalty kicks.

As he had in Bryant’s previous shootout win, Victor Rodarte came in for Jace Denker in front of the goal. Bryant was up first to shoot.

Forrest Fowler’s shot was good to the low right, 1-0.

The Rockets’ shot was good to low right, 1-1.

Wolf’s shot was good to low right, bouncing off keepers hands, 2-1.

The Rockets’ shot went wide left, 2-1.

Holden Chavis shot was good to low left, 3-1.

The Rockets’ shot was good in the middle, 3-2.

Rowlan’s shot was good to the middle of the goal, 4-2.

Rockets’ shot was good to low left to keep them alive, 4-3.

The last Bryant shooter was freshman Bryce Denker. His shot was good to low left, 5-3. Game over.

The Hornets rushed the field, finally getting the win that had eluded them after 14 years.

Bryant’s JV team remained unbeaten with a 1-0 win. The lone goal came on a free kick sent in by Cameron Furton that Josh Lowery kicked into the goal.

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