Hornets edged by Cyclones, prep for vital league battles

Battered a bruised, the Bryant Hornets absorbed a 2-0 loss to the Russellville Cyclones in a non-conference soccer match at Bryant Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Hornets were playing for the second night in a row, coming off a rugged 3-0 loss to 7A Central Conference leader, Little Rock Catholic. They had won at Russellville, a

Class 6A member of the Central Conference, 1-0 on April 17.

In a junior varsity match on Tuesday, Bryant prevailed 1-0 with a goal by Kobe Ray off an assist from Cole Gillespie.

The Hornets face a pair of crucial contests in their next two as they make a bid to reach the Class 7A State Tournament. They travel to Conway on Friday then host Van Buren on Tuesday, May 5. Both Conway and Van Buren are 7A squads. This year only 7A conference games count toward a 7A team, like Bryant, qualifying for State.

Russellville played one over the top to get the lone goal of the first half on Tuesday.

“We’ve got a lot of guys hurt right now so I moved some guys into different spots and played some guys that have been playing JV just to see what they could do,” said Hornets coach Jason Hay. “I thought they played really hard.

“To be honest, we were pretty unlucky,” he added. “We had some guys, several times, inside the six-yard box. We just couldn’t get one in.

“So the effort was there,” the coach said. “We just couldn’t get one to fall. For awhile, we were hitting some shots but, in the last couple of games, we’ve just been unlucky.”

Regarding the bid to make State, Hay said, “If we can take care of business Friday, if we can beat Conway or we can beat Van Buren then we’ll be in. The next two are the big ones for us. Right now, the goal is to get into that tournament.”

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