Sophomore Lindsey Mayo
’s goal with just 55 seconds left in the overtime turned a heartbreaking end to regulation into a field-storming celebration as the University of Arkansas soccer team clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament with a 2-1 win over visiting Missouri on Thursday night at Razorback Field.
Needing a win or tie to clinch their second straight SEC Tournament appearance, the Razorbacks (12-7, 5-6 SEC) looked to have the game won at the end of regulation, but the Tigers scored with just 19 second remaining to force Arkansas to play its seventh overtime contest of the year.
In the overtime, the Razorbacks fought off an early push by Missouri and countered with an attack in the final two minutes that resulted in Mayo becoming the seventh different Razorback to record a game-winner this season. The goal that translated into Arkansas’ fifth overtime win of the season came off a deflection, as Mayo hit a perfect shot off a volley into the upper portion of the net, sending her teammates onto the field.
“Tonight embodied how these kids have played all season and that’s with a lot of heart and determination,” said head coach Colby Hale
. “It takes a lot of grit to bounce back from a late goal like that and to do it with so much on the line says a lot about this group. They have been a pleasure to coach all season and I’m thrilled that we get to move on to the SEC Tournament.”
With their program record 12th win, the Razorbacks clinched the No. 8 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament and, oddly enough, will face No. 9 Missouri (8-8-3, 4-4-3 SEC) in Monday’s first round. Kick-off is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Arkansas’ grit and determination has been evident all year with proof coming in the form of 10 one-goal wins and the previously-mentioned five overtime victories. The Razorbacks’ 12 wins is a single-season record while they extended their record win total over a two-year span to 21.
Entering as the program’s first double-digit goal scorer since 2003, sophomore Ashley Ellenwood gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute off a set play from Tyler Allen
. Allen played the ball following a Missouri foul and found Ellenwood who was able to head the ball into the low left corner for the early lead. The goal is the 11th of the season for Ellenwood and gives her a team-best 28 points, both of which rank ninth in program single-season history.
Freshman keeper Cameron Carter
made her 18th start frame for the Razorbacks, improving to 11-7 while making two saves. Carter and the Arkansas defense have given up just one goal or less in eight of 11 home games, going 8-3 at Razorback Field.
Full coverage of the SEC Tournament will be available at www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com while up-to-the-minute information can be found on Twitter @RazorobackSOCCER.