FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas plays its first two Southeastern Conference road matches this week as the soccer team travels to Auburn and Alabama.
The Razorbacks face Auburn at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Alabama at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Alabama game is being televised by Fox Sports Net, which will be carried on Fox Sports Southwest in Arkansas. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., but has been changed for television.
Arkansas suffered its first two losses of the year last weekend, falling at home to Tennessee, 1-0, on Friday and to No. 8 Georgia, 2-0, on Sunday, but head coach Erin Aubry saw positive signs.
“We walked away from Friday’s game ecstatic,” Aubry says. “We got more from playing that style of game than we did in winning during the non-conference portion of the season. Our focus is on playing our style of soccer and getting better.”
The Razorbacks are 6-2-2 overall. Auburn is 4-3-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, and ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA Central Region. The Tigers are coming off a 3-2 double-overtime loss at Ole Miss. Alabama is 5-3-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, and ranked No. 10 in the Central Region, following Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Mississippi State.
The Razorbacks have allowed just six goals in 10 games, and only twice have they allowed more than one in a game. Arkansas is third in the SEC in goals allowed and goals against average, and tied for second with six shutouts.
“Anybody who was there on Friday saw Arkansas-style soccer,” Aubry says. “We played the last 25 minutes one man down and our best offensive output was late in the game.”
Tennessee had an 11-on-10 advantage for the final 25 minutes Friday and the Razorbacks played without starter Lauren Hallauer on Sunday after she was red-carded for stopping a one-on-goalie situation against the Lady Vols.
“We learned a big lesson on Sunday,” Aubry says. “Georgia played a hard, emotional game. Going to Auburn, it will be similar. We knew Georgia would play an emotional, well-played game. The pressure in that game was something we had not faced in our non-conference schedule. We need to change that.”
Georgia out-shot Arkansas 20-5, marking the first time this season the Razorbacks have been out-shot.
For the year, Arkansas has a 157-101 shot advantage over its opponents.
“We’re still trying to change our psychological culture,” Aubry says. “The upperclassmen have the least amount of time to change, but they are a resilient group and I have a lot of faith in them.”
Those seniors, forward Kat Moffett, midfielder Kathleen Paulsen, defender Kim Schleif and midfielder Sophie Wentz, have played in all 10 games with a 30 combined starts.
Schleif, junior midfielder Kelly O’Connor and sophomore defender Kailey Anders are the only three Razorbacks to start all 10 games.
Last year, Arkansas fell to Alabama, 3-1, and to Auburn, 2-1, with both matches played in Fayetteville.