Quick goals to start both halves put Bryant girls on the road to victory

Bryant's Bailey Gartrell maneuvers through a crowd of Texarkana defenders. (Photo by Kevin Nagle) Photos by Kevin Nagle and Rick Nation

It has often been the case this season, particularly in South Conference play, that the Bryant[more] Lady Hornets hit the opposition with at least one goal before the engines on the busses have cooled. And Friday night against the Texarkana Lady Razorbacks, it was no different.

Bryant's Hailey Levinson battles with a Texarkana player for possession. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Four minutes into the game, seniors Lexie Balisterri and Shelby Gartrell combined for a goal. It was the first of three assists by Gartrell who also had two goals. In the second half, less than two minutes had expired when that duo combined again to make it 5-0 at that point.

The Lady Hornets wound up with a 7-1 win over the Lady Backs, keeping their league record unblemished at 8-0 going into the final week of the regular season. Bryant is 15-2-1 with three games to go before the State Tournament in Cabot, which commences on May 9.

On Monday, Pulaski Academy visits for a non-conference match. On Tuesday, the Lady Hornets travel to Lake Hamilton for a league contest before wrapping up the regular season at home against El Dorado on Friday, May 3. El Dorado is second in the conference; its lone loss to Bryant.

The Lady Hornets are vying for a first-round bye at State as a one or two seed. They’ll be placed among the West Conference teams with a points system determining the seeding. If they can hold on to win the conference championship, they’ll get an additional 10 points toward that total.

Along with Gartrell and Balisterri, Jacie McMahan, Anna Lowery and Bailey Gartrell scored goals for the Lady Hornets against Texarkana.

Bailey Gartrell’s goal, with an assist from Shelby, came at the 23:09 mark. At 10:15 of the first half, Balisterri came through with the first of her two assists on a goal by Shelby Gartrell.

Less than three minutes later, Balisterri fed McMahan for a goal to make it 4-0.

After Balisterri’s quick goal to start the second half, Shelby Gartrell drilled her second on a penalty kick with about 10 minutes left.

Texarkana got its first and only shot on goal moments later and scored. Lowery answered with four minutes left off an assist from Emily Pierce.

“Overall I was really pleased with the girls,” stated Lady Hornets coach Julie Long. “It was probably the best game we’ve played in a while. They moved the ball really well. At times, they were talking really, really well.

“It was kind of a good pick-me-up,” she acknowledged. “We’ve been working hard a lot at playing smarter. They’re really focusing on what they need to do to get better for the State Tournament.”

Jacie McMahan (Photo by Rick Nation)

 Photo by Kevin Nagle

Shelby Gartrell (Photo by Rick Nation)

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