Hornets’ streak snapped in gut-wrencher at Benton

Photos by Rick Nation

Bryant's Jhorman Cruz (10) tries to maneuver around Benton's Micaiah Temple (27). (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bryant’s Jhorman Cruz (10) tries to maneuver around Benton’s Micaiah Temple (27). (Photo by Rick Nation)

BENTON — To an outsider, it’s really difficult to explain the level of intensity in the rivalry between Bryant and Benton. It’s pervasive and, in some sports in particularly, immensely passionate and heartfelt.

So, even though Thursday night’s match between the boys soccer teams from the schools had no impact on either team’s conference races or their State tournament or State title hopes, they got after it with desperation.

And it was a tremendous defensive war. Bryant, trying to maintain a shutout streak that has lasted over the last eight matches, saw Benton score off a counter midway through the first half and, as it turned out, that was the only goal of the night.

Perhaps wanting it too much, the Hornets missed all 19 of their shots on goal while keeper Jon Sohn was making seven saves in the match.

“We had several shots,” acknowledged Hornets coach Jason Hay. “But we could not get one to go in.”

Bryant's Connor Qualls (4) dribbles ahead of Benton's Tyler Sandiver (1). (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bryant’s Connor Qualls (4) dribbles ahead of Benton’s Tyler Sandiver (1). (Photo by Rick Nation)

Those included several that just ricocheted off the bar and out.

“Benton out-coached and out-played us,” Hay stated. “We will need to bounce back versus Russellville.”

The Hornets, now 11-3 overall, are set to host the Cyclones in a more important 7A/6A-Central Conference match tonight.

The Panthers improved to 8-1 on the season going into a 6A-South Conference match against Little Rock Parkview on the road tonight.

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