FAYETTEVILLE — Freshman Kat Moffett scored the game winner and assisted on another score, but it was a total team effort by the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team that allowed them to pick up a 3-0 victory against Oral Roberts University in an exhibition match at Lady’Back Field on Friday night.
Moffett tallied the game’s first score after coming off the bench in the 27th minute when she knocked a header off the crossbar and into the goal to put Arkansas up 1-0. With Arkansas holding most of the possession in the ORU half of the field, it was a cross by fellow newcomer Kylee Mesler that led to the game’s first score as she whipped a pass in from the left side of the penalty area.
“I’m very happy with the 3-0 win,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I thought that our shot selection was good and we did an excellent job building through the midfield. Our returnees gave us good experience on the field while the freshman added a freshness and vitality to the squad. We had some unforced errors that we’ll need to clean up, but you can never complain when you get a win against a quality opponent.”
The game would enter halftime with Arkansas holding a precious 1-0 lead, but despite two-a-day practices for the past seven days, the Lady Razorbacks came out for the second 45-minute half with a renewed fire which rarely allowed the Golden Eagles to gain possession of the ball let alone move it past the midfield stripe. The constant pressure on the ORU defense would eventually take its toll as a long through ball from Moffett found a streaking Christina Burger who dribbled past the goalkeeper and tucked an eight yard shot inside the far post.
Just nine minutes after Burger’s score, the Arkansas pressure proved too much for Oral Roberts. Using its strikers to put constant pressure on the ORU defense, the Lady’Backs forced an errant clear by the Golden Eagles which sailed into their own goal for an Arkansas score.
“Kat Moffett had a great game with a goal and an assist, reminiscent of Megan Fawley last year in her first game,” Henderson said. “What really impressed me though was the play of Sarah Gwisdala and Rachel Smith on the back flanks. Their play allowed us to play the style of soccer that I have been looking for and gave our midfielders the opportunity to press the attack.”
Gwisdala, a junior, started her first match for the Lady Razorbacks at defender after spending her first two seasons as a forward. Smith joined Arkansas just two weeks ago from Gastonia, N.C., as a true freshman and played well beyond her years. The duo combined for four shots on the evening, but also accounted for numerous attacks by the Lady Razorbacks on crosses and corner kicks. The play of Gwisdala and Smith along with senior Devon Burger and junior Allison Harris held Oral Roberts to just six shots on the evening with only two even coming close to the goal.
Statistically, Arkansas dominated the match as it out shot the Golden Eagles 25-6. The Lady Razorbacks allowed just two corner kicks while taking nine of their own and had possession of the ball for more than 60 minutes.
The Lady Razorbacks open the 2006 regular season next Friday night when they travel to Springfield, Mo., to play Missouri State University at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.