February 28 in Bryant athletic history: 2018

Hornets open season with strong performance against Warriors

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).

By Chris Morgan

As the rain poured down on Bryant Stadium, the Bryant Hornets kicked off their regular against the Little Rock Hall Warriors. From the first whistle, the Hornets looked to have control over the Warriors. The Hornets shut Hall out in the first half building a 4-0 lead.

Senior Jhorman Cruz delivered the first goal of the match, and put the Hornets up, with 31:40 left to play in the first half. Within 10 minutes, the Hornets would strike again, this time from senior Ricky Barrientos, scoring with 21:40 left.

The Hornets would continue to find goals late in the first half. With 18:40 left, Cruz found himself with another scoring opportunity, this time with a straight shot outside the 18-yard box placed in the top right corner just out of the reach of Hall’s keeper. Minutes before the half, the Hornets struck again when senior Alan Delgadillo found the mark.

“I told them at half time, [Hall was] going to come out one of two ways,” head coach Richard Friday said, “either fast and as hard as they can, or they’re already beat and they’re going to just go through the motions and try to get through the game.”

Coming out at half, Hall simply bested the Hornets at the start, keeping the ball in the Hornets’ back third for the first three minutes. The Hornets’ defense allowed Hall an open opportunity giving up a goal with 38:50 left in the second half.

“I don’t think the kids bought into the idea,” Friday said. “They thought the game was already over with. But, after that first little storm in the first 10 minutes of the second half, we got our composure back.”

The Hornets defense recollected, holding Hall, not giving up a goal for the rest of the match.

Coming off the bench, senior Alberto Rodarte added to the Hornets’ lead late. With 6:50 left in the match, Rodarte took a spinning shot in the lower corner giving the Hornets a 5-1 lead.

The Hornet’s would hold out as the final horn sounded. Their night ended as rain continued to pound the ground.

“We moved the ball around well and were solid out of the back,” Friday said. “We got to give everyone playing time, which is good since we have five games this week.

“There were still moments we lost our composure in the final third,” he added. “All in all, I think the boys played very well, playing in the weather and with first-game jitters, it was a good way to get a kick start.”

The Hornets continue their season this Thursday as they take on Russellville at home.

In a JV match, Bryant dominated from the start, according to Friday. Freshman Landon Nelson had three goals and Brandon Delgadillo headed one in.

“It was good as a group that is new playing with each other were finding their way,” Friday commented. “Our speed of play and connecting passes were slow and loose, however.”

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