Top-ranked Bryant girls escape with win at NLR

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — With a tiebreaking shootout looming, Ashton Inman, off a cross from Melinda Hernandez, drilled a shot on goal with less than a minute remaining as the Bryant Lady Hornets remained unbeaten with a 2-1 win over the Lady Charging Wildcats of North Little Rock on Friday night.

Now 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the 6A-Central Conference, the Lady Hornets are ranked No. 1 in the state and number 26 in the nation going into a first-place showdown with Conway at home next Tuesday. Conway improved to 6-0 and 9-1-1 with a 2-0 win over Mount St. Mary Academy on Friday.

“The girls need to work hard,” said Bryant head coach Nicole Inman. “We’ve got a good game coming up.”

North Little Rock’s Rylee Ellis tied Friday’s match 1-1 on a penalty kick with 5:53 left to play in the contest. It was just the third goal the Lady Hornets have allowed all season and snapped a shutout streak of seven halves in a row.

“We played poorly and almost ended up in a shootout,” Inman stated.

The first half was scoreless until, with 3:56 left, Alyssa Fason found the range off a feed from Hernandez.

“We had a hard time controlling the ball and our possession wasn’t great,” Inman related. “The refs weren’t the most solid. We ended up with two yellow cards. It was an ugly game.”

Keeper Addison Funk finished with four saves. Bryant had four corners and North Little Rock two. The Lady Hornets took 21 shots.

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