After three rough one-goal losses in a row, the Bryant Hornets took out some frustration on the Pulaski Academy Bruins, particularly in the second half, when they put together a four-goal onslaught to snap their brief skid with a 4-1 win.
“We needed that one,” acknowledged Hornets coach Jason Hay, whose team faces three crucial matches over the next week against 7A members of the 7A/6A-Central Conference. Their post-season fate hangs in the balance as they host Conway this Thursday, travel to Van Buren on Tuesday, May 3, and finish up at home against Little Rock Catholic on May 6.
The Class 7A State Tournament begins May 12 in Springdale.
The Hornets, now 12-5 overall, are 4-3 in the league altogether and 1-2 in 7A conference matches, which are the only ones that count toward making State and achieving seeding there.
In Tuesday’s non-conference match with Pulaski Academy, the Hornets faced a team that was determined to keep them off the scoreboard even more so after the Bruins took a 1-0 lead off a free kick in the first half.
“PA parked the bus with 10 in the box,” quipped Hay. “Ninety-eight percent of the game was played in our offensive half.”
Bryant keepers Jon Sohn and Logan Valestin, in a welcome return from injury, each had two saves.
Less than three minutes into the second half, the Hornets finally broke through when Ricky Barrientos found the back of the net off an assist from Andy Doonan.
That opened the floodgates. Six minutes later, Martin Ramierez drilled a goal off a feed from Barrientos. With 19:30 left to play, Jhorman Cruz made it 3-1 with Dalton Bryant picking up the assist.
Victor Fuentes capped it off at the 8:05 mark off a feed from Kobe Ray.