Hornets earn first conference win, 4-1, over Pine Bluff
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).
After being held to just one goal over their last three games (by three of the best teams in the state), the Bryant Hornets broke out with two in the first half and two more in the second as they captured their first 7A-Central Conference win, 4-1, over the Pine Bluff Zebras on Tuesday, March 13.
On Friday, March 16, the Hornets began with what head coach Kenny Horn thought was “the best first half I’ve ever seen us play,” in a match with Russellville only to have the Cyclones surge in the second half to a 4-0 win.
The Lady Hornets, meanwhile, suffered a heartbreaking loss to Russellville, 3-2, with a pair of late goals after they’d led most of the contest after two early goals by senior Maggie Griffith.
The Bryant teams were set to host Conway on Tuesday, March 20 before visiting Cabot on Friday, March 23 then taking off a week for spring break.
Gueorgui Tchamkoriyski and Lucas Nossamon each provided a goal as the Hornets took a 2-0 lead by halftime against Pine Bluff. The Zebras, however, got on the board to tighten it up in the second half.
“It was a shady call, I thought,” said Hornets head coach Kenny Horn regarding the Pine Bluff scoring opportunity. “They got a penalty kick. We stopped the kick but the ball bounced off our goalie or the post or something. It angled away from everybody but (Pine Bluff) had one guy standing there and he got a free kick at it. They were in the game at that point.”
It stayed 2-1 going into the final 10 minutes of play when Adam Miller came through with a goal and Tchamkoriyski added another to put the game away.
“We had to compete there,” Horn noted. “Pine Bluff plays a little different from other teams we’ve played and it threw us off there a little bit. They had a chance to beat us but we found a way to win. The guys hustled the whole game like they always do.
“I hope this helps our confidence,” he added. “Offensively, anyway. Generally, we play pretty good defense. It just seems like a lot of times the ball stays in our end and, after awhile, the other team’s going to get a lucky bounce.
“I think offensively this might’ve helped us a little bit,” continued the coach. “We did a good job of moving the ball around. We’ve found a couple of things we want to try to do different, keep the ball on the ground a little bit more, maybe not so many in-the-air passes. I think if we can get the passing problem corrected a little bit, we’ll be a lot better offensively.
“We took a lot of shots against Pine Bluff but they had a lot of people stacked up in the goal and it’s hard to get through four or five people. But somehow four found the way through and gave us the win.”
Of the Russellville game, Horn said, “We had several shots on the goal in the first half. We had a free kick but it was another of those times that I talk about where we just don’t get the breaks. Gueorgui hammers one on the free kick off the top of the goal. Nobody touches it then the goalie gets it. It looked like it was going in but he saved it at the last possible second. Then all he tries to do is kick it out and it bounces off one of his guys and comes right back to the goal. Somehow, the goalie just catches it.
“The wind was a factor too,” added the coach. “It was blowing real hard. The first half, we kept it on their end, partly because of the wind. The second half, they head the other way.”
And, eight minutes into the second half, Russellville broke the scoreless deadlock.
“Once we give up a goal, our guys get their dauber down a little bit,” Horn acknowledged. “They know that one or two goals make our chances not very good.
“Russellville was good,” he noted. “They were fast and we had a couple of kids out. That didn’t help. The guys that stepped in were outstanding though. But they fought all the way to the end, kept pushing and kept pushing. We just couldn’t get anything going there at the end.”