FAYETTTEVILLE – Senior Christina Burger scored the game-winner and added an assist to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team to a 3-1 win over the Liberty University Lady Flames on Sunday afternoon at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville.
The win improves Arkansas to 3-1-0 on the season, its best start in more than 10 years while Liberty, an NCAA Tournament team in 2005, falls to 2-2-0.
“Liberty is a very good side and played a very close match against #7 Virginia last weekend,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “This was our best performance of the year and this is an excellent win for our team. It is a real confidence booster. I thought that the first 25 minutes were brilliant. We played one and two touch soccer throughout that time which is great preparation for when we get into the Southeastern Conference.”
Arkansas held most of the possession in the early going, but a strong Liberty defense would thwart several opportunities. The Lady Razorbacks would get on the scoreboard first for the fourth consecutive time this year when Burger dribbled toward the left side of the goal. Drawing a pair of defenders toward her, Burger saw an open Katie Hamilton near the far goalpost and sent a crisp pass along the turf to Hamilton who chipped a shot over the Lady Flames goalkeeper for the game’s first score.
Hamilton’s score is her second of the season and her second in as many games. She also knocked in the first and eventual game-winner against Northeastern State on Friday evening.
A statistically even game at halftime, Arkansas continued to put pressure on the Liberty defense with long passes and several switches along the back line forcing the Lady Flames to constantly retool their alignment. Just six minutes into the final 45 minutes of play, Burger would also tally her second goal of the season and in as many matches when she took a long feed from Abbey Wilburn and knocked a 14-yard shot into the bottom right corner of the net for what would be the game-winning strike.
Forced to retool their thinking, Liberty used several substitutions to take the fight back at Arkansas late in second half. One of those substitutions paid dividends in the 81st minute when Ashley Braam tapped in a shot from the goal line to make it a one-goal match with nine to play. Taking a cross from Alaina Hohnarth inside the six-yard box, Braam would win the ensuing scuffle at the goalmouth to give the Lady Flames a fighting chance.
Despite a ferocious attack on the Arkansas net, the Lady Razorbacks were able to defend and counter on several instances in the final moments. One such occurrence sealed the match for the Lady Razorbacks. An Arkansas clear was sent high into the air and midway down the Liberty end of the field where sophomore Lindsay Patterson waited with a defender on her hip. Winning the header, Patterson’s defender hit the turf giving her an uncontested chance at the Liberty goalkeeper. As the Lady Flames keeper came out to cut down the angle, Patterson tucked a shot neatly into the corner of the net for her second score of the season.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next Friday night when they host the Lady Razorback Invitational and Louisiana Tech at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.