Photos by Rick Nation
The Bryant Hornets soccer team got their first taste of competition in a jamboree at Bryant Stadium Saturday and the reviews were mixed from head coach Jason Hay.
In 40 minutes against Cabot, the Hornets were outscored 2-0. In another 40 against Valley View, the contest finished in a scoreless tie.
It was a tune-up for Bryant’s season-opening match at Little Rock Central on Tuesday at Quigley-Cox Stadium.
“You could tell it’s been a while,” Hay said, referencing his team’s practices, which have been mostly indoors over the last two weeks. I thought, at times, we played really good. We had some first-game defensive breakdowns. We were streaky, a little bit nervous. I think six of the 11 out there were guys that had never started a high school game before.”
The Hornets were also without starting goalkeeper Hayden Ray, who was ailing.
“We had several freshmen and sophomores out there,” Hay noted. “Some of it was nerves.
“But it’s a starting point,” he related. “We know where we’re at.”
Regarding the scrimmage with Cabot’s Panthers, Hay said, “We actually had more shots on goal than they did. We just didn’t get lucky and get one in. Cabot has two foreign exchange students that moved in and they were studs.
“Cabot got one goal off a deflection then they got another goal when we had a defender fall down,” he recounted. “It was 2-0. A goal’s a goal but defensively we didn’t play very good.”
As might be expected, things got better as the day went along. Hay said his team played better against Valley View, a tradition-rich Class 5A school from the Jonesboro area.
“I don’t think they had a shot on goal,” he said. “We stayed in our half the whole time. We had several shots on goal but we just couldn’t get one to fall. We just had them ding around. We just didn’t look very polished and that’s on me. We’re going to get that fixed this week.
“We have Monday practice and Wednesday then play games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday so we’re going to get plenty of time to get more work in this week, hopefully,” Hay concluded.
Bryant is set to host Little Rock Christian on Thursday before traveling to a tournament in Fort Smith this weekend.