Another Weekend Split: The Lady Razorbacks brought their overall record to 2-2-0 last weekend with another split. Defeating Southwest Missouri on Friday and losing to Oklahoma on Sunday, the Lady Razorbacks looked very good in both contests.
The Southwest Missouri Contest: Arkansas took advantage of a halftime substitution when Meredith Thompson sent an outstanding cross into the mixer on a corner kick which Jenni Brashear put away. Otherwise, it was a very even match which Arkansas fought and scratched to pick up the victory.
Oklahoma: Hoping to overturn its previous misfortune, Arkansas rallied to tie the game at one late in the contest, but a defensive letdown 52 seconds later gave the Sooners the lead once more.
Coming Up: The Lady Razorbacks have their hands full this week as they play three games on the road including a mid-week tussle with Oral Roberts University on Tuesday. The Tuesday game is the third in five days for Arkansas before it gets three days off the competition field heading into the weekend set with Grambling and Southern.
Three in Five: Any time you only get a day off in between contests it is hard, but three games in five days is what is being asked of the Lady Razorbacks on Tuesday night against Oral Roberts.
Oral Roberts: Oral Roberts enters Tuesday night’s affair with a 3-1-0 overall record and are riding the momentum wave of three consecutive shutout victories. After dropping their first game 6-2 at Texas Tech, the Golden Eagles have scored seven goals over their past three games while not surrendering one. Oral Robert’s last victory came against a 0-4-0 Arkansas State team, 1-0, in Tulsa.
Arkansas Dominance: The Lady Razorbacks have dominated the all-time series with Oral Roberts, 6-1. Winning the first three meetings, Arkansas dropped a 2-1 decision to ORU in 1995 and since have won the last three by a combined 8-2 margin.
When Last They Met: The last time Arkansas played Oral Roberts was Sept. 3, 2003 with the Lady Razorbacks coming out on top 3-1. The Lady Razorbacks held a 1-0 lead heading into the half, but Oral Roberts came back to tie it in the 64th minute. Former Lady’Back Julie Williford scored the game’s final two tallies at 70:44 and 88:17 to ice the game.
Leading Scorer: Watch out for Oral Roberts junior Jessica Kellogg. In just four games this season she already has six goals scored including one game-winner. She is trailed by Nicole Bucelluni who has two.
Leading Scorer: Coming into the 2004 season no one would have suspected that a defender would be leading the Lady Razorbacks in scoring four games into the season, but that is exactly what sophomore Allison Harris is doing. With one goal and one assist on the year, Harris has earned three points to pace Arkansas. Four others have one goal on the year and yet another has contributed an assist.
First Goal: The first goal of the 2004 Lady Razorback soccer season was scored by none other than . . . . Allison Harris. A sophomore defender from Snellville, Ga., Harris connected on a direct free kick from 35 yards to tie the game with Southeast Missouri at one midway through the first half. The goal was the first of Harris’ career and her second points after assisting on one score as a freshman.
Offensive and Defensive: While Allison Harris may be leading the Lady Razorbacks in scoring during the 2004 season, no one is going to confuse her as Arkansas’ main offensive weapon. Harris is too strong as a member of the Lady Razorbacks’ defensive four to get that honor, but any offense she can provide throughout the 2004 season is a bonus for the Lady Razorbacks.
The SEC Standings: Talk about having it rough, the Lady Razorbacks are a respectable, .500, overall and yet are still tied for fifth in the SEC’s Western Division. Auburn leads the way with a perfect 4-0-0 record followed closely by LSU’s 3-0-0 mark. Miss. St. has one loss with Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss sporting a pair. In the east it’s South Carolina at the top of the standings at 4-1-0. Florida is the only other team in the division with multiple wins at 3-1-0 and Tennessee has just a single victory. Georgia, Vanderbilt and Kentucky have yet to win a contest.
Alabama A&M Tournament: The Lady Razorbacks travel to Huntsville, Ala., to participate in a two-game set at Alabama A&M University, Friday and Sunday. Over the course of the weekend, the Lady Razorbacks are scheduled to face Grambling and Southern at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and noon, Sunday, respectively.
First Meetings: The Lady Razorbacks have never played Grambling or Southern over the course of the past 18 years. Of course neither school has participated in women’s soccer nearly that long.
Grambling: The Grambling State Tigers enter the Alabama A&M Tournament with a 3-2-0 overall record and have victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jackson St. and Nicholls St. Coming off a tough 5-1 loss to Troy State University last Sunday. The 2003 SWAC Western Division Champions a year ago, Grambling returns a large roster to the field in 2004, laden with numerous freshmen making them a relatively young squad.
Leading the Tigers: Grambling is led by sophomore forward Candace Nzekor who has five goals on the year including two game winners. Coming off the bench for the Tigers in three contests, Nzekor provides a spark to the Grambling lineup. Nzekor’s two game winners came in Tigers first two matches of the season where she tallied four of her five goals.
Southern: The Southern University Jaguars enter the weekend with a 0-4-1 overall record and come off a pair of games with Columbia College in which they went 0-1-1. Picking up three goals on the weekend, the total eclipsed that of their three previous contests in which they scored just one.
Loose Defense: Southern’s defense has given up lots of goals, 18 in five games. It doesn’t seem to matter who is the goalkeeper for the Jaguars either as both keepers on the Southern roster have allowed nine goals. On the flip side, you have to get the shots in a good place as the tandem has made 56 saves in that time.
First Goal: Sophomore Katie Stauffer became the second Lady Razorback to score the first goal of her career in 2004 when she netted the game-tying score against Oklahoma on Sunday. Playing the ball off a free kick from Allison Harris, Stauffer kept the ball low from about three yards and put the Lady Razorbacks in position to win.
Scoring Widespread: For the past three seasons Arkansas’ opponents knew to key on Julie Williford, but the 2004 Lady Razorbacks are much more unpredictable. Scoring five times this season, every goal has been off the head/foot of a different person and only one Lady Razorback has contributed to more than one score.
First Four, then Five: Sophomore goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver notched her fourth career shutout against Tulsa, then backed it up with another blanking of Southwest Missouri State. While the back-to-back shutouts don’t even come close to her three-match scoreless streak in 2003, it is significant as it has moved her closer to Arkansas’ all-time leader in the category, Molly Myers who blanked 17.5 opponents in four years.
Returning Starter: If there is one thing for sure, it’s that Carrie Dillsaver will start in goal for the Lady Razorbacks this fall. The only goalkeeper with experience on the roster, Dillsaver was Arkansas’ starter last season and did a fabulous job between the posts as she accumulated a 1.92 goals against average in an Arkansas record 1,549 minutes played by a freshman.
Record Setter: Carrie Dillsaver beat out a senior for the starting goalkeeper’s position in 2003 and after doing so, set the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback record for minutes played in goal by a freshman. Ironically, Dillsaver broke the record that had been set four years earlier by the same senior whom she beat out for the starting position.
Already One of the Best: The University of Arkansas has tradition when it comes to soccer, 18 years of tradition and to say that Carrie Dillsaver is already one of the best to play says something. After one season, she ranks among Arkansas’ all-time best in games played, games started, wins, minutes, shots faced, saves, goals against average and shutouts.
More Fouls = Wins: While it seems strange, the numbers just don’t lie. When Arkansas fouls its opponents more, it wins. In the Lady Razorbacks two victories they have out fouled their opponents by an average margin of 9:5.5. On the flip side in Arkansas’ two losses it has been out fouled by roughly four per game.
Field General: Junior midfielder Megan McCool’s presence can be not just seen, but fell when she steps on the pitch. Forced to sit the Lady Razorbacks’ season opener, McCool returned to the lineup against Tulsa and scored the game winner just 1:19 into the contest. Since then she has been a source of inspiration to the Lady Razorbacks as she demands the ball and continues to make good things happen on the field.
Only 1:19: That’s how long it took Arkansas junior Megan McCool to score in the Lady Razorbacks’ contest with Tulsa on Sunday. The time is the fastest since last season when Julie Williford tallied Arkansas’ first score just 1:14 into Arkansas’ game with Mississippi State on Oct. 10.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were chosen to finish fourth in the western division in the annual Southeastern Conference coaches’ poll which was released on Tuesday, August 24. After tying for third in 2003, Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson felt that the ranking was very fair given the circumstances and hopes to improve on the preseason rankings.
Goals When It Counts: The Lady Razorbacks have five goals scored on the season and each has been truly significant. Two of the scores won games for the Lady’Backs while each of the other three has tied the match.
The One-Goal Match: Over the past several years the Lady Razorbacks played some but not a lot of one-goal matches, but that appears to be the norm for the 2004 squad. Four games, four one-goal matches with Arkansas coming out on the winning side half the time. To give some perspective, Arkansas played four one-goal games in 2003 and nine in 2002.
Lone Senior: Jenni Brashear is Arkansas’ lone senior on the active roster in 2004. Hailing from Little Rock, Ark., Brashear has been a four-year starter for the Lady Razorbacks and has played multiple positions. The 2004 season has Brashear at her original position, forward, after spending the past two seasons as a stalwart defender.
Coming Through in the Clutch: Jenni Brashear had a flare for the dramatic during her freshman year when she tallied three goals and an assist. The drama that she caused was usually directed toward Arkansas’ opponents and came in the form of a knife to the gut as she scored two game winners and a game-tying goal. Her first career tally came at the expense of Mississippi State, followed by a pair of knocks against LSU, one to force overtime in the final moments of regulation and the other to win the contest in extra time.
A Highlight Reel Goal: Jenni Brashear scored her first goal of the 2004 season against Southwest Missouri and was it ever one for the highlight reels. Taking a feed from, coincidentally, her roommate Meredith Thompson, Brashear went into the air and pounded a header into the back of the net off a corner kick. The score was Brashears’ fourth career tally and third game winner, placing her in a nine-way tie for ninth all-time in Lady’Back history.
Beating Tulsa: It was a long time coming, but Arkansas’ victory over the University of Tulsa was the first time since 1994 that a Lady Razorback squad has defeated the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa had won seven of the past eight contests against Arkansas with the lone non-victory, a 3-3 tie in 1996.
Arkansas’ Leading Scorer: With all-time leading scorer Julie Williford having completed her soccer eligibility, the Lady Razorbacks are looking for someone to fill the void and if numbers are what you look to, then Christina Burger could be her replacement. Scoring six goals and two assists in 2003, Burger is Arkansas leading returning scorer and what looks good for the Lady Razorbacks is that she was able to notch her scores from all over the field.
One in Game One: Perhaps it is going to be a trend for Christina Burger to score in a season opener. As a freshman she scored Arkansas’ only goal in its opener against Oklahoma and in 2004, she did it again with a long arcing shot at Southeast Missouri. The goal was the seventh of Burger’s career.
Two Goals in 17 Seconds: It has only been done 17 times before, but Christina Burger scored two goals in 17 seconds against Kentucky to at least tie for 18th on the NCAAs fastest goals scored list. Only the 11th individual to score both goals in that time span, Burger netted her pair in nearly identical fashions from the right side. The NCAA record you might ask, five seconds between goals.
Limited Action: Following a preseason injury to her knee, Arkansas’ coaches felt that working Christina Burger into the lineup slowly was their best option to keep the sophomore healthy. Coming off the bench against Baylor in the preseason, Burger played sparingly, but has since been a force as she has logged an average of 67.5 minutes per game.
Record Crowd: The crowd at Arkansas’ home opener of 639 is the seventh largest in Lady Razorback history and the benchmark for home openers. The previous best for a home opener was 564 set in 1994 against Mercer.
Averaging 523: The Lady Razorbacks opened the 2004 season with great attendance numbers. Averaging 523 through three games, the Lady Razorbacks are well ahead of last season’s numbers where they brought in 386 per contest. Looking at last season’s numbers, the Lady’Back average attendance would rank among the top 50 should the season end today.
Best Season Since: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 record of 7-10-2 is their best since 1996 when they went 11-7-3. It’s .421 winning percentage was a tad higher than the .404 percentage Arkansas posted in the fall of 2000, but not quite the .595 percentage in 96.
Parallels to 1995: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 season draws an alarming similarity to the 1995 season in which Arkansas posted a 5-13-1 record. In that year, the Lady’Backs opened the year hot at 3-2-1, then won only two of their next 13 games including a nine-game losing streak to end the season. In 2003, Arkansas opened the year 3-3-2 but swooned near the end of the season dropping five consecutive games in conference play.
1996 and 2004: While Arkansas’ 1995 season ended on a sour note, the team rebounded in 1996 to have its best season in Arkansas’ 18-year history. Finishing the season 11-7-3 with a .595 winning percentage, Arkansas posted school records for both wins and percentage on its way to the SEC Western Division Title. Could 2004 be similar to the 1996 season? The seasons began similarly in that both teams opened with a 1-1-0 record.
The 1996-2004 Prognosis: The 1996-2004 debate could wage all season, but there is at least one thing for certain, Arkansas’ 2004 team has a better record after four games than the 1996 squad. At 2-2-0, the 2004 team has one step ahead of 1996’s 1-3. The difference comes over the next 11 games where Arkansas won eight of 11 matches in 1996 with a tie.
New Coach: On December 16, 2003, the Lady Razorbacks hired Gordon Henderson as the sixth coach in University of Arkansas women’s soccer history. A native of Scotland, Henderson is the second non-American head coach in the program’s history and has a history of building programs both at North Dakota State and Idaho State. A believer in fitness and quality, Henderson has already had his team running more and working on the little things that make teams go from good to great.
What Henderson Inherits: Asked to turn the fortunes of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer program, Henderson inherits a team that went 7-10-2 and capped off the season with its best record since 1996. He has a solid core of freshmen and sophomores and must evaluate the 19 returning players when spring workouts begin.
Roster Additions: The Lady Razorbacks have added two to the 2004 roster since the media guide was published in late July. Junior Meredith Thompson and freshman Christina Lachut came to the team at the beginning of school and have been working out with the Lady Razorbacks. Some might remember Thompson from her freshman year of 2001 where she played for the Lady Razorbacks but then left the team due to burnout. Lachut is a freshman and assumes the backup goalkeeping duties.
Home Opener: For the third time in four years, the Lady Razorbacks have won their home opener, this time a 1-0 defeat of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Lady Razorbacks are now 10-9 in home openers.