STORRS, Conn. – The Arkansas soccer team owned the possession from the opening kick Thursday night against UConn, but goals were hard to come by as the Huskies defeated the Razorbacks, 2-1, in overtime at Marrone Stadium.
UConn’s Kess Elmore was able to get behind Arkansas’ back line in the 99th minute and slot a goal past Razorback keeper Rachel Harris for the game-winner. The Razorbacks were down 1-0 after the first half, but got an equalizer from freshman Parker Goins off a free kick in the 56th minute, her fifth of the season.
The Razorbacks (4-3-0) totaled 25 shots in the match with 15 coming in the second half. Unfortunately, UConn (2-3-1) goalkeeper Mollie Kerrigan came up with nine saves of her own to keep the Huskies in the match even with the relentless offense of Arkansas on full display.
“That one stings a little bit,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “Our second half was about as well as we’ve ever played and there were some really good individual performances. We’ve just got to keep growing up with some of the little things. It’s just little details we’re missing right now, but the team is coming together. Hats off to UConn. I thought they battled hard, but it was one we thought we deserved.”
Defensively, Arkansas played, arguably, it’s most complete match as UConn only managed two shots on goal. Harris was in the net for the entire 98 minutes, but was rarely challenged as the Huskies only managed four corner kicks and notched eight shots of their own.
“We faced a good team on the road,” Hale said. “In the first half we were good, but in the second half, we were dominate. We just can’t let this keep being a habit. We can’t play well and keep losing. There are little details we need to fix, but the effort and some of the things we’ve been working on showed we were good tonight.”
UConn 1, Arkansas 0 – 36th minute
The first half was well on its way to being a scoreless half before UConn’s Alexa Casimiro placed one in the back of the net off an assist from Liane Keegans in the 36th minute. The score stayed that way for the final 10 minutes of the period, but Arkansas looked to increase the pace of play as it got two of its eight shots and three corners in those final minutes.
Arkansas 1, UConn 1 – 56th minute
In the second half, the Razorbacks seemingly held court as the ball rarely made it into UConn’s attacking side. Goins, who did not play the entire first half, was in or around the box on nearly every scoring chance. Ironically, her fifth score of the year actually came off a free kick from 30 yards out. Goins tried to send a ball just in front of the keeper’s line and as Kerrigan came out to meet it, she misjudged, allowing the ball to sail over her head and into the net.
The score was her first since netting four against Abilene Christian two weeks ago and puts her in a tie for third in the SEC. Her 14 points through seven matches are also good for third in the conference.
As the match went into overtime, Arkansas continued to stay aggressive as freshman Taylor Malham nearly ended the match with a golden boot in the 91st minute. From the left side, Malham’s shot beat the keeper, but hit the crossbar and stayed in play.
UConn ended the match eight minutes later with Elmore’s score on a breakaway to give the Huskies the win.
Arkansas heads a little further up the east coast as it travels to Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Lady Friars of Providence College on Sunday at 11:30 p.m. The match will be televised by Cox Sports.
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