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Auburn in SEC home opener

Auburn in SEC home opener

FAYETTEVILLE – After playing eight of its last nine games on the road, the Arkansas soccer team is home for a Southeastern Conference weekend.

The Razorbacks play host to Auburn on Friday at 7 p.m. and Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We will have a lot of enthusiasm to play," head coach Erin Aubry says. "We’re home for two weeks with four games. We’ve had two home games, so we’ve seen our fans, but a Friday night SEC game in our stadium with our fans doesn’t compare to any other. We’re excited."

Arkansas opened league play on the road last weekend, falling at Tennessee on Friday, 2-1, and battling No. 17 Georgia to a 0-0 double-overtime tie on Sunday.

Four of Arkansas’ last five games have gone into overtime. Georgia and Tennessee entered play last week first and second, respectively, in the SEC in scoring with a combined 5.0 goals per game, but the Razorbacks limited them to a total of two.

"(Goalkeeper) Britni Williams has stepped up in goal," Aubry says. "I think she struggled to get going and find her way early in the season, but she’s made this wall to get past and that leadership has spread to our entire back line. We made a change, putting Beth McVean in the back so we could move Laurel Pastor up front and produce more offense, and she’s done an amazing job. Kailey Anders is experienced on the right and is doing great things. We have two newcomers in the middle, Jenn Fryrear and Melanie Foncham, who have both been solid."

Auburn comes in at 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC. The Tigers beat Mississippi State, 3-1, and lost at Ole Miss, 2-1. Auburn leads the all-time series 10-5-2, but the series is tied 3-3-2 in Fayetteville. Arkansas is 7-9 all-time in SEC home openers.

Alabama is 7-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play. The Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss, 2-0, and Mississippi State, 2-0. Alabama leads the series 10-5-2, including a 4-3-1 edge in Fayetteville.

In the last game, against Georgia, Aubry went with a starting lineup of Allie Chandler, Pastor and Ally Atkins at forward; Rachel Carlson, Jessie Givens and Camille Flores at midfielder; Foncham, McVean, Anders and Fryrear at defender; and Williams at goalkeeper.

The Georgia game was played in a steady rain, went to double-overtime and included two weather delays for lightning totaling almost 80 minutes.

"On a day that was just about as crazy as any I’ve seen in terms of weather, for our kids to stay maintained and focused through all of that and come out with a tie against a very good Georgia team was good," Aubry says. "We’re never happy with a tie. We always want to win, but on that day for us, that was positive."

For Friday’s game against Auburn, the first 50 UA students receive vouchers for a free drink and hot dog from the concession stand, the first fans through the gates receive a Razorback rally towel while supplies last, university faculty and staff can redeem up to four tickets for $1 each with a valid university ID, and UA students with ID are admitted free.

Sports Category : Soccer (W)