FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Christina Burger scored in the second half for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team in front of a near record crowd of 1,487 fans on Friday night to tie the score at one, but the goal would not hold as the 14th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols scored in the first overtime to escape from Fayetteville with a 2-1 win at Lady’Back Field.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 4-8-0 on the season and 1-4-0 in Southeastern Conference play while Tennessee improves to 7-4-1 overall and remains perfect in conference action at 5-0-0.
Despite playing a higher-ranked team, the Lady Razorbacks were not intimidated in the first half as they employed a strategic defend and counter game plan that worked to well in frustrating their opponents. While Tennessee did manage to launch seven shots on Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver, only one had to be stopped by the senior, while another was shuttled away by the Arkansas defense.
“Just guts and heart,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said following the contest. “I am incredibly proud of these young women. Tennessee is a very good side and we have just been on the wrong side of some very close games. This team believes that it can win and that they deserve to win. Now we have to get ready for Sunday afternoon.”
Tied at zero going into the half, Tennessee would get on the scoreboard first in the second when Ali Christoph connected on a 26-yard shot that sailed into the right side of the goal. The Lady Vols were awarded a corner kick in the 72nd minute which was taken by Genna Gorman from the right side and her cross fell into the mixer where it was cleared by the Lady Razorback defense outside the penalty area but straight to Christoph who wasted no time in uncorking her shot.
Playing back on its heels, Arkansas allowed Tennessee to apply severe pressure on its back line, but despite the Lady Volunteer activity in front of Arkansas’ goal, Dillsaver and the Lady Razorbacks held strong. Continuing to counter attack when the chance presented itself, Arkansas found their opportunity in the 87th minute thanks to a great deal of patience.
Forcing the ball off a Lady Volunteer, Arkansas was given a throw in along the right side of the field. Taken by freshman Lindsay Patterson, she sailed an overhead toss into the six-yard box where a several bodies from both sides attempted to connect. Fortunately for the Lady Razorbacks it was Burger who was the first to make contact as she struck a shot with her head over the outstretched hand of the Tennessee keeper to tie the game at one.
Burger’s goal is her team leading fifth of the season while Patterson notched her first career point with the assist.
The final two-plus minutes of regulation were contested without either team getting a quality shot off, although both made serious runs at the opposing net.
The overtime period took 7:52 before Tennessee ended the match with the golden goal. Making a run at the Lady Razorback defense, Tennessee was turned away once again, but a foul was called away from the ball giving Tennessee an indirect free kick. Five Lady Razorbacks set up a wall 10-yards from the ball where Tennessee’s Christoph and Gorman stood. Christoph took a quick touch which allowed Gorman a shot on goal that sailed over Arkansas’ defenses and into the far side of the net to end the match.
The 1,487 Lady Razorback fans stood in stunned silence as the Lady Vols celebrated their victory at the spot of the winning shot. The crowd was the second largest in Arkansas history just off the 1,701 that enjoyed Arkansas versus South Carolina on Oct. 12, 2001.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they face the Georgia Bulldogs at Lady’Back Field at 1:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.