February 26 in Bryant athletic history: 2011

Lady Hornets’ debut successful, 4-2, against Little Rock Christian

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).

Bryant's Shelby Gartrell splits a pair of Little Rock Christian defenders. (Photo by Rick Nation)By Aaron Shuttleworth

Photos by Rick Nation

What happens when a 2010 State champion comes to Bryant?[more]

Lexi Balisterri (1) winces as she and a Little Rock Christian player contend for possession of the ball. (Photo by Rick Nation)

They get stung.

The Bryant Lady Hornets defeated the defending Class 5A State champion Lady Warriors of Little Rock Christian, 4-2, on Saturday in a pre-season game to benefit the Arkansas Athletics Association catastrophic insurance fund. The original game was supposed to be played on Thursday night, but due to inclement weather it was postponed.

What better way to break in the new season on a new field than on a crisp Saturday afternoon?

The game started off right for the Lady Hornets right away. Only two minutes and six seconds in, Tarra Hendricks was awarded a free kick. He arching kick went to Shelby Gartrell inside the six-yard box. Gartrell then passed it to Kaitlin Gaiser who was open and just had to tap it in past the Lady Warrior keeper.

At 30:00 of the first half, Rori Whittaker and Bailey Gartrell broke free and, with great teamwork, got the ball down the field but it was to no avail.

Seven minutes later, Shelby Gartrell was able to get the ball 45 yards down the field by herself and take a nice crossing shot but it was stopped by the keeper. Gartrell is just so fast it’s hard for her own teammates to keep up with her.

Kaitlin Gaiser (Photo by Rick Nation)

At 16:00, Hendricks had a corner kick to Katie Moore. The ball was batted away by the Lady Warriors which gave Hendricks another chance to try a corner kick. It too came up empty.

On the other side of the ball in the first half, keeper Kaitlyn Miller had five saves and only had one ball get past her. She ended the game with six saves.

But it was almost like there were two keepers out there. Defender Callie Schalk had four saves herself, one from 22 yards out and another from 15. She was able to give assistance to Miller the duration of the game.

Victoria Rose came up big as well. She was able to head a ball out of the box at 19:37 after a corner kick.

The Lady Warriors’ fastest player was able to get up the field some but Hendricks and Schalk were able to run her down and Miller was able to take it from there.

Going into the second half, 1-0, the Lady Hornets knew that they could hang with the Lady Warriors. At 38:04, Hendricks was awarded a free kick that just nicked the top rail.

Bryant's Bailey Gartrell (13) contends for possession. (Photo by Rick Nation)

With 34:11 left in the game, the keeper for the Lady Warriors was 40 yards in front of the goal. That’s when Shelby Gartrell’s speed went into over drive. She dribbled past three defenders and through the legs of one. After a quick move, all the keeper could do is look into an empty net as the number 8 flew by her. Gartrell shot from 10 yards out.

Less the four minutes later, Hendricks had another free kick. This time, she was 59 yards from the goal. With Shelby and Bailey Gartrell in the box, she delivered a booming, arching kick. Shelby kicked it to Bailey who she put the ball into the back of the net.

With the Lady Hornets leading with a comfortable 3-1 lead, they decided to make it even better. With 6:53 left in the game Victoria Rose sent a crossing shot to awaiting freshmen Rori Whittaker. With Rori 3 yards away from the goal, she sent it past the already deflated Lady Warrior keeper. With a victory in there grasp, all the Lady Hornets had to do was play smart and defend well. The only goal coming from a penalty kick with 4:15 left in the game.

Freshman Jacie McMahan was sticking to her player like a magnet on the defense side. She was making it very difficult for the Lady Warriors to gain any ground. She also had a booming shot on the keeper that could be heard in the pressbox.

The Lady Hornets took 16 shots on goal.

With a team that has depth and six players out, there is nowhere but up for this team. After showing they can play with the defending champions, maturing and growing from the young team they were last year, only those 29 girls will determine if they can make it all the way to championship glory. And with the way they played today, they will achieve it.

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