Lady Hornets’ hopes to upset Lady Panthers dashed

FORT SMITH – Sometimes, a team that’s better than their seeding to State might indicate, can sneak up on a higher seed that they hadn’t played before.

Seeding can be deceiving that way sometimes because it’s usually relative to the conference would belong to. In a tough conference, a five seed can be a really good squad.

But for the Bryant Lady Hornets, seeded fifth from the 7A-Central Conference, such was not the case on Friday. They didn’t draw a team that might’ve taken them lightly. In fact, they squared off against a higher-seeded team that knew all too well how tough they were.

Though the Cabot Lady Panthers had defeated the Lady Hornets twice in league play, both were narrow victories they really had to earn.

So, far from overlooking the Lady Hornets as a No. 1 seed from another conference might’ve done, Cabot entered the match with a full appreciation of Bryant’s capabilities. There would be no taking anyone lightly.

Though that worked against the Lady Hornets, the fact that they’d come so close twice against Cabot, certainly gave them some confidence and the notion that they might be able to get over the hump this time, stun the Lady Panthers and advance to Saturday’s State semifinal.

On a pair of late goals, off of a pair of calls that Bryant head coach James Paul protested including a penalty kick, the Lady Panthers snapped a 2-2 tie and picked up the victory to advance to the State semifinals.

“It was a hard-fought game that I can easily say, we fought to the very end,” Paul said. “A couple of ‘iffy’ calls led to Cabot’s last two goals.”

The result was a 4-2 loss for the Lady Hornets that ended their season.

“We had an up and down season but I’m proud of every girl for showing up this last couple of weeks of the season,” Paul said. “I consider that ending on a high note. A bitter taste along with promising play is something we can carry into next season.”

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