NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Coming into their 7A/6A-Central Conference match against the Little Rock Catholic Rockets on Tuesday night, the Bryant Hornets soccer team had[more] allowed no more than two goals in a game all season. And only three of their 11 opponents managed that.
So when the Rockets put up five goals including three in the second half in a 5-2 win, it was a bit of a stunner for the Hornets and head coach Jason Hay.
The loss was the second in as many games in league play. Just before spring break, they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker at Little Rock Central. Tuesday’s game was their first one back after the break.
The match was tied 2-2 at the half.
“We came out and played a good first half especially considering we’d been off for spring break,” Hay commented. “We moved the ball around very well.”
Pete Alverio had a goal early for Bryant. Alex Rowlan put in a header off a corner kick for the second goal.
The second half, however, was a different story.
“(Catholic) just came out in the second half and we had some bad breakdowns in our defensive half of the field, our back four,” Hay related. “We gave them some cheap ones. One that they had in the first half was a pretty good shot on goal from the far post on the ground but the next one was just a bad deal on a corner. It got pinged around.
“Obviously, they played good but we played about as bad as we could the second half,” he added. “We just collapsed, panicked. I was not happy with our effort in the second half. It was the worst defensive game we’ve played in a couple of years.”
The time off was not the only reason, the coach said.
“We’re just trying to do too much,” he mentioned. “Instead of clearing the ball and taking the easy way out — we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do. We’ve got too many people trying to win the game themselves instead of trying to rely on everybody else, too much me and not enough we.
“And you can’t fault them too much for it,” Hay allowed. “Some of these guys are just wanting to win so bad. But, you know, it takes a team effort.”
The Hornets, now 5-6-1 overall, will try to secure their first league win on Thursday when they host the Van Buren Pointers at 5 p.m.
“We’ve got to get it fixed Thursday,” Hay asserted. “We need this one.”
In a JV game on Tuesday, it was 0-0 when, about 10 minutes into the second half, lightning forced the game to be called.