TEXARKANA — After suffering an opening round loss, the Bryant Hornets soccer team bounced back with[more] two wins to reach the championship game of the Razorback Invitational Tournament at Arkansas High School this weekend. In the finals, however, they were nicked by Rogers Heritage, 2-1.
The Hornets are now 4-4-1 going into a big week. On Monday night, they’ll host the rival Benton Panthers for throw-back night with uniforms worn by the original Hornets soccer team from 1997. Then, on Thursday, they open play in the 7A/6A-Central Conference at Little Rock Central.
“Overall, I was proud of the way we fought back,” said Hornets coach Jason Hay of his team’s performance. “Tough losses on Thursday (at home to Searcy) and Friday, down 0-1 at the half in the first game Saturday and it would’ve been very easy for the kids to quit. They didn’t. They fought back and made it to the finals from there.”
In the finals, Heritage took an early 1-0 lead.“It was nice shot on a free kick,” Hay related. “They also scored on a PK (penalty kick) to go up 2-0 at the half.
“We played well and had chances,” he added. “We had some really good shots on goal but the Heritage keeper did a very good job stopping shots.”
On Saturday, the Hornets fell behind De Queen 1-0 in the first half.
“That was after dominating possession time and outplaying them,” Hay said. “They got a luck shot in then they bunkered everyone back trying to hold on.”
But, in the second half, goals by Jesse Wolf, Caleb Garrett and Bryce Denker provided the impetus for victory, 3-1.
That set up a rematch with Rogers which had defeated the Hornets 1-0 on Friday night.
“We played well but couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Hay said of Friday’s match.
But in the rematch, the Hornets struck first on a free kick. Reed Evans scored off an assist from Justin Travis. A second goal came off a corner kick from Denker headed by Evans.
The Hornets made that hold up for the victory. Rogers had a player ejected along the way, forcing the Mountaineers to play with 10.