TULSA, Okla. – Junior Abbey Wilburn etched her name in the University of Arkansas soccer record books on Wednesday night when she scored just 20 seconds into the Lady Razorbacks’ match with Oral Roberts University on way to a 3-0 victory.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 2-1-0 on the year and gives Arkansas its first road victory of the year. Oral Roberts falls to 0-2-0.
“I am very pleased with our performance tonight,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “This was a soft field and it really drains the energy from you. Most of all, I am pleased with the way the team responded to a tough loss last Sunday. That’s a good Oral Roberts side and it took us to play well to come out on the winning end.”
Arkansas opened the contest with the ball and quickly took it down the field and deep into ORU territory. Moments later freshman Kelly O’Connor sent a cross to the top of the penalty area which Wilburn stroked of the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. The time on the clock read 44:40 and is believed to be the fastest goal scored to start a game in Lady Razorback history.
Rain was the forecast in the Tulsa area throughout Wednesday and the Oral Roberts field was saturated with water by the start of the contest, but the less than ideal conditions didn’t stop Arkansas from playing some of its best soccer of the year. For the opening 20 minutes Arkansas barely had to defend on its half o the field and peppered the ORU goalkeeper with numerous shots.
The Golden Eagles turned the tide slightly midway through the half, but Arkansas was quick to gain the edge back and put Oral Roberts down by two in the 35th minute. Making another dangerous attack, senior Allison Harris fired a shot from 25 yards that was blocked by the ORU defense. The ensuing rebound found the foot of O’Connor who quickly changed its trajectory and slid it neatly into the side netting for Arkansas’ second score.
Arkansas’ final score of the evening came in the 73rd minute when Harris netted her first of the year. Setting up for a corner kick, Wilburn sent a pass to Kim Schleif who one touched a pass around an Oral Roberts defender and sent a crisp cross to the center of the net. Standing on the back end of the chest high cross was Harris who headed the ball into the net for the third and final score.
The Lady Razorbacks dominated the stats throughout the contest, but especially in the opening 45 minutes when it took 18 shots including 11 on goal. Arkansas also took four corner kicks to ORU’s zero. The second half numbers were no where near the first, but the final stats showed Arkansas with 27 shots to just 14 by the Golden Eagles.
Defensively, freshman Britni Williams posted her second shutout in three games and made six saves on the night. She was aided by a stout defense that rarely let a shot through. The Lady Razorback back four was made up of Harris and senior Sarah Gwisdala, junior Megan Fawley and sophomore Rachel Smith.
The Lady Razorbacks return to Fayetteville on Friday night for a match with Austin Peay beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Lady’Back Field. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.