VAN BUREN — For the first time since 2000, the Bryant Lady Hornets soccer team has gone to 3-0 in[more] conference play with a 4-0 win at Van Buren on Friday night.
Shelby Gartrell scored two goals and assisted on another. Lexie Balisterri had a goal and two assists.
“We played well,” said Lady Hornets head coach Julie Long. “Coming off a three-hour bus trip is always hard. That’s the biggest thing when we go up there. It’s always hard to get the legs going and getting motivated to play.
“But, overall, the girls played fairly well,” she said. “They moved the ball well.”
Though the game was almost exclusively played on Bryant’s offensive end, it took a while for the Lady Hornets to get their first goal. It came with about 15 minutes left in the half and sparked a surge that produced a 3-0 halftime advantage.
“We controlled it the whole time,” Long noted. “Their keeper was really, really good. We had several breakaway chances and she came out and made some really good saves early in the game. She was actually a really good keeper; props to her for keeping them in the game.”
Balisterri and Gartrell combined on the first two goals, one assisting the other then vice versa. Before the half was over, Balisterri fed Lauren Reed for a goal.
The score remained 3-0 until the final minute of the match when Bailey Gartrell passed to her sister Shelby for a final goal.
“It’s a good place to be regardless of the wins that we have,” Long said, referring to some tougher league opponents still to come. “I’m happy with where we’re at but we still have a lot to work on.
“This next week’s going to be our biggest test,” she added.
Bryant travels to Russellville on Tuesday then to Conway on Friday.
The Lady Hornets have won five straight and boast a 9-2 overall record going into the week.