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Allie Chandler (No. 8) had an assist on Jeriann Okoro's goal (No. 16).
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Razorbacks battle USC to 1-1 tie

Robby Edwards, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas battled South Carolina through two overtimes for a 1-1 double-overtime tie in Southeastern Conference soccer at Razorback Field on Sunday.

Both teams scored goals in the second half, but the defenses were solid throughout.

South Carolina finished with a 16-11 advantage in shots, but the Razorbacks had a 7-5 lead in shots on goal.

"The first half was not very good," Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. "We didn't battle and we were out-worked. The girls responded in the second half and we had some chances to get the win."

USC out-shot the Razorbacks 10-4 in the first period, but from then on, Arkansas had a 7-6 lead in shots.

The Razorbacks got on the board first when Jeriann Okoro scored off a pass from Phyllis George at 55:00. Allie Chandler headed the ball to George, who raced down the left side and crossed in the middle to Okoro, who scored her second goal of the year.

South Carolina, which is 3-4-3 overall and 0-2-2 in the SEC, tied it at 69:50 when Danielle Au scored off assists from Ali Whitney and Taylor Leach.

The Gamecocks threatened to take the lead with five throw-ins deep in Arkansas territory between the 61st and 64th minutes. Ashleigh Ellenwood headed out three of them.

In the 82nd minute, Teni Butler passed to Okoro, who got inside the box and reached the top of the six, but two defenders and USC keeper Sabrina D'Angelo swarmed her and broke up the play. Around the 85-minute mark, Chandler passed to George twice down the left sideline. On the first, George crossed into the box, but the pass was deflected and cleared. On the second, she crossed for Okoro at the right post, but the pass was just a bit too far.

In overtime, Chandler got a good shot at 95:33 from 20 yards out, but D'Angelo made a leaping save and tipped it out. In the second overtime, Ellenwood's header off a pass from Chandler went over the crossbar.

With a minute remaining, USC had the final chance of the game, but Kaylyn Cooper was in the box to block a shot from 25 yards out.

"This was good SEC Sunday soccer," Hale said. "South Carolina is traditionally one of the better teams in the league. For the final 65 minutes, we were every bit as good as they are. We're grinding and getting better, but we want to stay grounded. Going 1-0-1 (counting Friday's 3-2 win over No. 18 Kentucky) is not our goal for the weekend. Our goal is to go 2-0-0."

In the first half, both teams generated their best scoring chance late in the period and the Gamecocks actually had a goal waved off.

At the 39-minute mark, Arkansas, which is now 4-5-1 overall and 1-2-1 in the SEC, had its best opportunity to get on the board. Okoro took a long pass into the offensive end, beat her defender into the right corner and crossed into the middle of the 18. The ball deflected to the top of the box and Taylor Green fired a 20-yarder that beat the keeper, but bounced off the left post. The ball rolled across the field in front of the goal, but USC cleared before Arkansas could attempt another shot.

With two minutes left, Arkansas keeper Kelly Roliard moved to the left away from the goal, but a loose ball was played in front of the goal. A defender kicked it out over the goal, giving USC a corner.

At the 44-minute mark, South Carolina actually punched in a shot from inside the six, but the Gamecocks were called for a foul on Roliard and the goal was wiped out.

For the period, USC had a 10-4 lead in shot attempts, but just a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal. Roliard had three saves and D'Angelo had two. For the game, Roliard finished with four saves while D'Angelo had six.

Following the two-game homestand, the Razorbacks are on the road this week. Arkansas plays at Tennessee on Friday and Florida on Sunday before returning home for four straight at Razorback Field.

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