Photos by Kevin Nagle
Thursday’s night 3-1 loss to the Russellville Cyclones was a loss the Bryant Hornets can be[more] proud of. Now that sounds weird I know, but hear me out. The Hornets can be proud of the way they played. They fought with the Cyclones and did not give in to the frustration that some questionable officiating might’ve caused.
Said Bryant head coach Jason Hay, “We just got beat. The only people we can blame is myself and the team. We had our chances and didn’t get it done.”
The game was crazy from the very beginning.
Now I’m going to need you to open another browser. Got it? Good. Now Google the word “machine”. Yes, you are correct, that is a picture of Jesse Wolf. He was everywhere last night. Wolf hustled the whole time he was on the field, from putting pressure on the Cyclone defenders to saving two goals on the other side of the ball.
Ben Stukenborg is just fun to watch. He pushes the envelope every week and when the opposition pushes back, he’s still there to bring more. The way he gets all in the comfort of the keeper is just enough to drive the other team crazy. But when that keeper makes one mistake and he is there to advance on it, it will all be worth it.
Hornets keeper Jace Dinker ended the night with 13 saves. With one save going to the corner post of the goal. The ball came in at just the right angle that it bounced off of it and ran the length of the goal. How it did not go in baffled everyone.
When he got into a jam, there were other players there to help. Players like Holden Chavis who had a nice header save. Or Ryan Watson who, in a flurry of kicks after a corner kick, was able to clear it out and get some breathing room. Kyle Nossaman and Peter Alverio showed their foot skills by clearing the ball out of bounds in traffic so teammates could prepare to defend or by getting the ball into midfield so the Hornets could go onto attack.
With :59 left in the first half, Alex Rowlan assisted Justin Travis in the only goal of the night for the Hornets.
Starting the first half, the Cyclones came out firing on all cylinders. They were really putting it to the Hornets. But each time they attacked, the Hornets were able to attack back. Caleb Garrett broke free and shot but was stopped by the Cyclone keeper. Chavis was putting the Cyclones on their heels and made them regroup.
Then came the yellow cards. The first was on the Cyclone coaches, then two on the Hornets then another on the Cyclones.
The Hornets played with everything. Russellville had more points on the board but they did not out-play them.
Losses come to all teams. It’s how you deal with the losses that show you did not really lose. This game is over, can’t go back to it. But what they can do is use this game as fuel to ignite the fire that brews inside of them. Because, come Thursday night, the Hornets will be going 12 rounds with the rival Conway Wampus Cats.
Bryant is now 6-7-1 overall and 1-3 in the 7A/6A-Central Conference.