FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 17th-ranked Razorback soccer team begins its 2017 campaign tomorrow as it will open the season on the road in Dallas to face former Southwest Conference foe SMU at Westcott Field. First kick is slated for 7 p.m. and will be televised on Cox Sports Television.
After they face the Mustangs, the Razorbacks will travel to Denton, Texas to face the North Texas Mean Green on Sunday at the Mean Green Soccer Stadium. First kick for that match will be at 1 p.m., but will not be televised.
Only Friday’s match with SMU will be televised in any fashion as CST will pick up the game. CST is a regional broadcast and is only available to Cox subscribers. If you are not sure if you receive CST, please contact your local cable provider. To see a list of CST affiliates, please CLICK HERE.
Both matches this weekend will have live stats available via SMUMustangs.com and MeanGreenSports.com.
From Head Coach Colby Hale
“The preseason has been good. I thought we accomplished the objectives we wanted to accomplish. I’m actually glad the first weekend is on the road. It’s going to be good to get away from distractions and focus on the task at hand.” – on beginning the 2017 season
“I think we have a basic idea of who we are and we’re pretty comfortable in our roles. We’re going to face two good teams in SMU and North Texas, but I think the players are up for it.” – on if the team accomplished what it wanted out of the preseason
“It’s always nice to have their full focus on soccer. Academics are always important, but for those first two weeks, they don’t have school, so they can focus on soccer a little more. I think they’ve responded to it well. We’ve pushed them hard at some times, but I think they’re prepared.” – on having the team’s full focus on soccer before classes start
“I feel good about our health right now. For this point in the season, I feel pretty fortunate. We’ve put some things in place to prevent any injuries. Overall, I think they’re in a good place.” – on the team’s health going into the first match
>> No. 17/18 Arkansas opens 2017 by traveling to Dallas and Denton, Texas to face SMU and North Texas. This is the second-straight season Arkansas will open campaign on the road.
>> This is the first time the Razorbacks have faced the Mustangs since 2013, but have only won two of the last seven matches.
>> Arkansas is facing North Texas for the second-straight year but only the fourth time ever. Arkansas won last year’s match 1-0 in Fayetteville.
>> The Razorbacks were picked to finish fifth in the SEC coaches preseason poll earlier this week. Last year, the Hogs had their highest conference finish ever, taking third place.
>> Senior Jessi Hartzler, junior Carly Hoke, and sophomores Kayla McKeon and Stefani Doyle were all named to the SEC Preseason Watch List earlier this week. All four players made up 24 of Arkansas’ 51 goals from a year ago.
>> Arkansas is coming off an 18-win season from a year ago. The 18 wins was a new program record.
>> Two of the 18 wins included victories over No. 2 Duke and No. 4 Florida at home. Both are the Razorbacks only wins over top-5 programs.
>> Arkansas has won its last 10 season openers dating back to 2007. Under head coach Colby Hale, the Razorbacks have scored three goals or more in three out of five season openers.
>> 2016 was a year of firsts for the Razorback soccer program as it reached the SEC Tournament final for the first time since 1996 and hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
>> Head coach Colby Hale is the only Arkansas head coach to take the program to the NCAA Tournament. In three of his five seasons, the Razorbacks have made the postseason field and reached the Sweet 16 in its first appearance in 2013.
>> Arkansas posted seven shutouts a year ago, which was the most since 2013 and fifth-most in the SEC last season.
>> The 18 wins by the Razorbacks last year set a program record for wins in a single season.
>> Arkansas is returning 55 percent of its scoring from 2016. Eight goal scorers return this season and 10 players that recorded at least one point.
Sibley Secures Brace In Exhibition Win Over Omaha
>> Even though she didn’t score a goal in 2016, redshirt junior Reid Sibley might be another offensive weapon in the Arkansas arsenal when it begins the 2017 season. Last week, Sibley scored two of Arkansas’ three goals in a 3-0 exhibition win over Omaha. Her first goal came in the 24th minute and her second came just 10 minutes later.
>> Sibley is one of 14 letterwinners returning from last year’s team. She appeared in 23 matches with one start in 2016 and notched three assists.
Hartzler Leading The Way
>> Senior defender Jessi Hartzler will be one of the leaders on the field for the Razorbacks this year. Hartzler started all 24 matches last season, scoring eight goals with one assist (17 points).
>> Hartzler has started 37 straight matches and 39 of the last 40.
>> Her eight goals last year was a career-high and four of her goals were game-winners.
>> Hartzler earned NCAA National Player of the Week honors after scoring the game-winner over No. 4 Florida and went on to be named a second team All-SEC and NSCAA All-South Region player.
Continuing The Trend
>> Since Colby Hale arrived as head coach, a major emphasis has been put on the fan experience. The fans have responded as 2016 was the program’s highest-attended season since its inception in 1986.
>> Last year 15,115 fans entered Razorback Field over 11 home games, good for an average of 1,374. That average was the 11th-highest in the nation and third-highest in the SEC.
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