FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas tied No. 10 South Carolina 2-2 Friday night in a double overtime thriller supported by the fourth largest crowd in Razorback Field history.
“I’m proud of the team,” Arkansas soccer head coach Colby Hale said. “If I’m not mistaken, it’s our first team result against a top 10 team in program history. That being said, I think the group is disappointed it wasn’t a win. It felt like we played well enough to get the W. We’ve asked some players to step up and they have. That’s a good performance against a very good South Carolina team.”
Junior midfielder Claire Kelley scored the contest’s first goal in the fifth minute of play to give the Razorbacks an early 1-0 advantage. Her sixth goal of the year, Kelley is now the team’s leader in goals scored this season, along with points.
Sophomore midfielder Katie Kienstra had a chance to make it 2-0 Razorbacks in the 17th minute after heading in an Erika Miller free kick, but it hit the crossbar and sailed above and behind the net.
Kelley also had a nice shot in the 24th minute that went wide left, and the Hogs entered the half with a favorable 1-0 lead. This season, the Razorbacks are 5-2-0 when scoring first, and 4-0-0 when leading at the half.
The second period saw a flurry of offensive action, with South Carolina striking first. The Gamecocks evened up the match at 1-1 after an Anna Conklin header at the 46th minute. Arkansas responded in just five minutes, with freshman defender Rachel VanFossen scoring her first goal of the year by heading in a corner kick from junior forward Alexandra “Sparky” Fischer.
The Gamecocks fired back, scoring two minutes later with a header from freshman forward Simone Wark late in the 52nd minute.
With the score tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, the Razorbacks and Gamecocks entered the first of two overtime periods. Hogs fans exploded into ecstatic cheering as an apparent goal to end the game hit the back of the net. But the excitement was short-lived as officials called it back citing a handball foul.
The Razorbacks had a similar opportunity to claim an upset win in the second overtime period when freshman midfielder Reece Christopherson’s header in the 106th minute bounced off the left upright post.
With the tie, Arkansas is now 5-6-1 for the year, and 1-3-1 in SEC play. The Razorbacks look forward to hosting Ole Miss next week at Razorback Field in a 7 p.m. contest.
The announced attendance of 1,619 was the fourth highest home crowd in Razorback soccer history. In seven home games, Arkansas soccer is averaging 1,329 attendees per contest.
Prior to kickoff, as part of Senior Night festivities, the team recognized the contributions of seniors Teni Butler, Ashleigh Ellenwood, Lindsey Mayo, and Blake Pruitt in a midfield ceremony. Accompanied by their families, the seniors were presented with a framed jersey in front of home fans who’ve cheered them on the past four years.
For more information on Arkansas Soccer during the season, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter, and also find the team on Facebook and Instagram.