FAYETTEVILLE – Senior goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver made a pair of world-class saves, but her effort wasn’t enough as the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team dropped its season finale against the Kentucky Wildcats, 1-0, at Lady’Back Field on Sunday afternoon.
Arkansas’ loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 10-7-2 on the season and 3-6-2 in Southeastern Conference play while Kentucky improves to 11-6-3 overall and 6-3-2 in SEC action. The win also makes Kentucky the #2 seed at next week’s SEC Championship Tournament.
“There was a lot of emotion coming into this game,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I think that once it all dies down, the players and the staff will realize just how far this program has come over the course of the year. I believe that this program is ready to compete against the best in the SEC. I am very proud of the way the girls left everything on the field.”
A game dominated by both midfields, Arkansas and Kentucky each had spurts where it controlled the tempo, but neither team was able to capitalize on its chances. Kentucky’s offense produced the best shot of the opening 45 minutes when a strike from outside the penalty area was heading just under the crossbar, but Dillsaver leaped back and punched the ball over the goal for a corner kick for her first big save of the game.
The resulting corner was easily dismissed by the Arkansas defense and half would end with the game tied at zero.
The second half was eerily similar to the first in that it was dominated by the midfield and Kentucky would make Dillsaver make another acrobatic save to keep the score tied. Arkansas’ offense did come alive over the second 45 minutes taking several shots on Kentucky’s goalkeeper, but each was handled by the 2005 all-SEC player.
With just over 10 minutes to play in regulation, Kentucky got the break it was looking for when they were awarded a corner kick from the far side of the field. Tara Herold sent a long cross to the top of the six-yard box where Kate Hughes was able to get a chest on it and redirect the ball past the Arkansas defense and into the goal for the game’s lone score.
Arkansas ends its 2006 season with a winning record for the first time since the 1996 season and its 10 wins are the third largest total in school history. Overall, the Lady Razorbacks broke numerous records including consecutive wins (7); best start in school history (7-1-0) and were ranked for the first time in the program’s 21-year history. Individually, Dillsaver had a monster year breaking five Lady Razorback career records and will go down in Arkansas lore as the best goalkeeper in school history. Senior forward Christina Burger also set records this fall with a string of five consecutive games with a goal and six consecutive home matches with a score.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.