A Rough Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks had a rough weekend against their first Southeastern Conference opponents of the year going 0-2 against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The Lady Razorbacks fell 5-0 to the Commodores in Nashville, before dropping a heartbreaker in Lexington, 2-1.
Ouch: Adding insult to injury, the Lady Razorbacks not only lost to Kentucky on Sunday afternoon to go 0-2 on the weekend, but they did so with 24 seconds left in regulation.
Home at Last: Perhaps the comfort of Lady’Back Field can cure Arkansas’ woes. The Lady Razorbacks begin a four-match homestand this weekend with a pair against Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The Mississippi State match begins at 7:00 p.m. while the Ole Miss contest is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Back on the Web: For those that can’t make the game, Arkansas’ games this weekend are scheduled to be broadcast on the web at ladybacks.com. Match video and commentary is available.
McCool Scores: Not wanting to go home without something, senior Megan McCool made the most of her weekend as she not only had a pair of fabulous games, but also scored Arkansas’ only goal against Kentucky. Taking a feed from Katie Stauffer at the top of the penalty area, McCool dinked a shot with backspin over the head of the Kentucky goalkeeper to tie the match at one with just three minutes to play.
Playing Her Best Soccer: Some athletes struggle their senior years as they determine what to do in the next stage of their lives, but not Megan McCool. The Bethany, Okla., native is playing the best soccer of her four-year career and the effort shows. She is on pace to eclipse her career best point total for a season and has been all over the field in each of Arkansas’ nine matches making her a constant threat.
Needing McCool to Score: Perhaps it is just coincidence, or maybe it means something, but when Megan McCool scores, Arkansas wins. In each of the Lady Razorback wins, McCool has either a goal or an assist making her a valuable asset.
McCool Back in the Swing: After an off year in terms of scoring, Megan McCool is back to her old ways. In her first four games this season she had two goals and an assist for five points matching her point total from a year ago. Her career high for points in a season is 12 which she scored during her sophomore season on four goals and four assists.
The Mississippi’s: The Lady Razorbacks have had an interesting relationship with the two schools from Mississippi over the years. While Arkansas has dominated the series with State going 8-2-0, it has been dominated by Ole Miss, going 2-8-0. The interesting thing about the two schools is that each game has been close aside from just four or five of the 20 career meetings.
Mississippi State: Mississippi State has struggled in 2005 as they own a 1-5-2 overall record and dropped their first two SEC matches by a combined 6-1. Starting out with a pair of ties, State lost three of their next four before finally earning their first win against Charlotte in game seven on Sept. 18.
Struggling to Score: Part of the problem for Mississippi State is their inability to score goals. While only shutout three times in nine games, the Bulldogs have only scored more than one goal just once, their lone victory. Betty Ann Casey is Mississippi State’s leading scorer with three goals and one assist.
The Arkansas-Mississippi State Series: The Lady Razorbacks have been somewhat dominant against Mississippi State over the years with an 8-2-0 record. Arkansas is undefeated at home in five matches and has hung four goals against the Bulldogs in each of their last four games in Fayetteville. Mississippi State’s last win against Arkansas came during the 2002 season when they dominated that match to the tune of a 3-0 victory in Starkville.
Last Season: The Lady Razorbacks stole a victory from Mississippi State last season in Starkville, Miss., when Katie Hamilton scored on a diving header in overtime. Scoring just three minutes into extra time, Arkansas was able to pick up a hard fought 2-1 win. Then senior Jenni Brashear was the star of the match as she scored Arkansas’ first goal, then assisted on the game winner. Statistically, the Bulldogs had the edge in both shots and corner kicks, but the Lady Razorbacks led where it counted, the scoreboard.
Last Time in Fayetteville: The Lady Razorbacks dominated Mississippi State in Fayetteville in the fall of 2003 when they beat the Bulldogs 4-2 at Lady’Back Field. Scoring early, the Lady Razorbacks put constant pressure on the Bulldogs and while Mississippi State did try to make a game of it, Arkansas’ offense was too good on that night.
The Southeastern Conference Standings: Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks, their 0-2-0 start in Southeastern Conference play has them in tie for fifth in the SEC’s Western Division with Mississippi State. Leading the way in the west are Ole Miss and Auburn who each opened conference action at 1-1-0, while Alabama and LSU had 0-1-1 starts. In the east, Vanderbilt and Tennessee carried unblemished 2-0-0 records with Kentucky and Florida remaining undefeated at 1-0-1. Georgia and South Carolina are each 1-1-0.
Mississippi: A team of streaks in 2005, Ole Miss has an overall record of 7-3-0 and split their SEC opening weekend against Tennessee and Georgia. After opening the year 4-0, the Rebels dropped a pair to Saint Louis and Florida State before winning three more.
The Ole Miss-Arkansas Series: Ole Miss has Arkansas’ number and it doesn’t matter if the game is in Oxford or Fayetteville, the Rebels have been dominant over the years. Arkansas won the first two meetings between the schools, and has since dropped eight straight to Mississippi to own a 2-8-0 record against the Rebels. The squads have just played one overtime match in the 10 games despite seven one-goal results.
Last Season in Oxford: The Lady Razorbacks looked thoroughly outmatched in their 2004 clash with the Lady Rebels in Oxford, Miss. Managing just three shots to Ole Miss’ 22, Arkansas got behind early and failed to climb out of the deficit. Carrie Dillsaver did her best in the match, making eight saves on 11 shots on face. Ole Miss’ Kelly Renie was the star as she scored the first two goals for the Rebels who netted all three in the opening 45 minutes.
The 2003 match: Statistically it was almost dead even, but after the two squads exchanged goals in the opening 16 minutes, Ole Miss couldn’t miss. Taking just nine shots in the match, the Rebels scored four times in a show of efficiency that has rarely been matched.
And it Continues: Carrie Dillsaver’s ascent to the top of Arkansas’ career goalkeeping categories began in Arkansas’ first match of the season as she notched her 13th career win to place herself alone in fifth place all-time. Her 39th start against Kansas placed her in a fourth on the games started list.
Where She Stands Now: Carrie Dillsaver creeps ever closer to the Lady Razorback’s career goalkeeping records. She started her 45th career game (tied for second), notched her 15th win (fifth), faced her 539th shot (fifth), made her 217th save (fifth), dropped her goals against average to 1.66 (second) and recorded her 10th shutout (third).
One of Five: Carrie Dillsaver only had to make one save against Southeastern Louisiana, but it was a big one. That save was the 200th of her two-and-a-half-year career and makes her just the fifth Lady Razorback to ever stop that many shots.
A Rock in Goal: The Lady Razorbacks have been blessed throughout the years with solid goalkeeping and that trend continues with senior Carrie Dillsaver. A three-year starter, Dillsaver has been integral to Arkansas’ success and her ability to come up with the big save is known throughout the league. Over the past two seasons, Dillsaver has started all 36 games she has played in and tallied a solid 1.66 goals against average.
Setting Records: While Carrie Dillsaver continues to move up the Arkansas career charts, she is also locked into a few Lady Razorback records. She has six Arkansas class records including minutes played as a freshman and sophomore, goals against average, and shutouts and starts as a sophomore.
Injury Update: The Lady Razorbacks have been bit by the injury bug this season, but the news is getting better. Sarah Gwisdala returned from her ankle injury and continues to improve with each training session. Andrea Sparks had arthroscopic knee surgery several weeks back and was able to provide valuable minutes against Vanderbilt. She should be ready for a full return this weekend. Allison Harris’ knee injury that required surgery was found to not be as bad as first thought and she may be able to return to the field by the end of the season. Alison Harter’s leg has required a walking boot, sidelining the sophomore for at least two weeks. Finally, Katie Hamilton has shown improvement with her back injury and could return to action in the next couple of weeks baring any setbacks.
Lineup Changes: Due to the rash of injuries, the Lady Razorbacks have had to be creative with their personnel and the result is six different starting lineups in nine games. The only two times Arkansas used the same 11 starters were in games one and two and six through eight. Otherwise it has been musical positions as players have compensated for the loss of their teammates.
Burger Shows a Spring in her Step: Junior Christina Burger proved the old saying that you can’t keep a good person down a couple weeks back as she played potentially her best soccer of the season. Flying all over the field, Burger had numerous chances in both of Arkansas’ matches, but made the most of her opportunities against Southeastern Louisiana as she scored twice.
First Multi-Goal Game Since: Christina Burger’s two-goal effort against Southeastern Louisiana matched her career high for goals in a game and was the first time she has accomplished the feat since Oct. 5, 2003 when she netted two goals in 17 seconds against the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Leading Scorer: Christina Burger’s two goals and one assist against Liberty and Southeastern Louisiana give her nine points on the season and move her into the Lady Razorback scoring lead. The leading returning scorer in each of the past two seasons, Burger tied Arkansas’ top scorers against Liberty with an assist, then reclaimed the top scoring spot with her first goal against Southeastern.
Feast or Famine: Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks the 2005 season has been feast or famine when it comes to goals. In Arkansas’ three wins it has scored 10 times, but in the six losses, the Lady Razorbacks have scored just twice and been shut out four times.
Getting on the Board Early: The Lady Razorbacks have proven this season that getting on the scoreboard first in women’s soccer is a huge advantage. The Lady Razorbacks have been the first to score in each of their three wins and in the four losses, allowed their opponents to score the first goal.
Non-Conference Wrap-Up: The Lady Razorbacks ended their non-conference schedule on Sunday afternoon on a high note when they defeated Southeastern Louisiana. Arkansas finished the beginning part of its schedule 3-4-0, missing one game to Hurricane Katrina.
Newcomers Getting Plenty of Time: The Lady Razorback newcomers are seeing plenty of action this fall as all eight have seen the field at one point or another and four have made starts. Abbey Wilburn and Megan Fawley have each started all nine Lady Razorback contests with Leah Collison, Lindsay Patterson and Tara Sageser each getting one start.
Not Bad for a First Timer: Freshman Megan Fawley patiently waited for her turn on the field in Arkansas’ exhibition match with Baylor. Her rotation on the field probably came into question as she did not see any action for the first half. Starting in the second, Fawley was fresh and ready to give everything she had and the result was the game-winning goal with 4:37 to play.
Megan of all Trades: First there was the term Jack-of-all-trades, now its Megan-of-all trades. After her preseason goal against Baylor as a forward/midfielder, Arkansas’ coaching staff moved her to defender to fill a hole and the Richardson, Texas, native was up to the task as she played every moment of each of Arkansas’ first seven regular season matches.
A First: While it will take some deep digging to make the point concrete, it is believed that Tara Sageser is the first Lady Razorback in 20 years to score two goals in her first match wearing the Cardinal and White. For a fact she is the first going back to the 1994 season, but records prior to then will take some time to recover.
Not a Bad Opener: If you had told the Arkansas coaching staff that they would split their opening weekend on the road prior to the season, they would have been happy. If you told them they would win the first match 5-1, they would have been ecstatic. Of course, as with all things, following the first win, the entire Arkansas team wanted to pick up an opening weekend sweep, but a 1-0 start to the season was just fine.
Opening at 1-0: The Lady Razorback’s victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane was the first time since the 2000 season that the Lady Razorbacks opened the season with a win and the first time since 1998 that they accomplished the task on the road.