STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Razorback soccer team did not concede a single shot in its 2018 season opener Friday night against Duquesne and used a strong second half effort to defeat the Dukes, 1-0, at Jeffrey Field.
The lone goal came from junior Kayla McKeon in the 37th minute in the run of play as the first half winded down. McKeon has now scored 14 goals in her Razorback career and has scored once in two of the last three season openers.
Friday night’s victory over the Dukes was Arkansas’ ninth season-opening win in the last 10 years and sixth-straight victory via shutout going back to 2017.
The team will now look ahead to its marquee matchup of the weekend against No. 9 West Virginia on Sunday at 11 a.m., which will also be played on the Penn State campus.
From Head Coach Colby Hale
“The positive is that we won the match. Winning is never easy, but we worked out some first-game jitters against a good Duquesne team. We need to keep progressing in order to reach out final goals. Duquesne had some moments today, but we didn’t concede a shot and it’s good to get a ‘W’ in our first match.” – Head coach Colby Hale
How It Went Down
Pregame – Arkansas and Duquesne had to wait out an hour-long weather delay prior to the beginning of the match. The original start time of 4 p.m. CT was pushed back to 5 p.m. due to heavy rain and thunderstorms in the State College area.
37th minute – Kayla McKeon found the scoresheet for the first time this year when her one-timer in the middle of the box snuck past the Duquesne keeper for the game’s only goal. The play was set up nicely by sophomore Taylor Malham on the right side, who sent the cross in toward the near post where it was back-heeled by Tyler Runnels right to McKeon in front of goal.
For Runnels, the point was her first of her collegiate career, while Malham’s was her 15th of her young career.
Other Key Notes
-The shutout Friday night against Duquesne is reminiscent to 2017, where the Hogs piled up a school-record tying 10 clean sheets during the year. Tonight’s shutout was goalkeeper Rachel Harris’ second of her career.
-Tonight’s 1-0 victory was the first season-opening shutout for the Razorbacks since 2013 when they defeated Kansas, 1-0, on August 23.
-After not conceding one shot to Duquesne, it marked the first time in program history than an Arkansas opponent did not record a shot in a match.
-Sophomore Brooke Pirkle logged a career-high 76 minutes in the midfield and made her third start of her Razorback career.
-Kayla McKeon’s score was her first goal since her rebound put back against Vanderbilt (Nov. 2) in the SEC Tournament semifinals last year. McKeon had four goals in 2017 and 13 points.
Arkansas now sets its sights on No. 9 West Virginia, which it will face on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Jeffrey Field. The Mountaineers will be the Razorbacks 12th top-10 opponent in the last four seasons.
The match will be streamed for free on Penn State’s athletics website, GoPSUsports.com, with live stats available as well.
For more information on Razorback Soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.