CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – It was disappointing beginning for head soccer coach Gordon Henderson and his Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team as they dropped a tough match to the Southeast Missouri State Otahkians in the season opener, 3-2, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Friday night.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 0-1-0 on the season while Southeast Missouri improves to 1-0-0.
“Certainly, al credit goes to SEMO,” Gordon Henderson said. “Despite the outcome, I was very proud of the way we fought. We never got down after they scored. We came right back and fought to the end. Ultimately, it is tough to win when you concede three goals and miss as many chances as we did. The season has begun and the key for us is to learn from this game. It’s just one game.”
Similar to their exhibition contest, the Lady Razorbacks fell behind in the first half when an Arkansas foul on the left flank led to a Otahkian direct kick. The resulting cross was sent to the middle of the penalty area where Southeast’s Marla Gianino put a strong boot on it which was blocked by the Arkansas defense. The rebound fell to the foot of Diana Poovey who quickly sent a shot into the net to make the score 1-0.
Sophomore Allison Harris tied that match at one with just over six minutes left in the half when she also capitalized on a direct free kick. Set up 35 yards from net, Harris launched a rocket over the four-person wall set up in front of her and placed the shot into the bottom corner of the net just past the outstretched arm of the Southeast goalkeeper. The score is the first of Harris’ career and the first by Arkansas this season.
Southeast once again regained the lead in the 60th minute when another direct free kick was fired into the goal, this time by Megan Hejlek. Hejlek, like Harris before her, took the shot from way outside the penalty area, but in her case snuck it just under the crossbar to give the Otahkians the lead.
The Lady’Backs tied the game again just moments later when sophomore Christina Burger connected on a rainbow and a prayer. Taking possession of the ball 35 yards from net, Burger took one touch then arced a shot 25 feet in the air that carried over the Southeast goalkeeper and into the goal at 63:52.
The ping-pong match continued in the 68th minute as Southeast used some quick one-touch passing down the right side to set up a cross from the flank that eluded Arkansas’ defense in the mixer. Using good fortune to her advantage, Lisa Schweppe took a shot without settling the ball that found the bottom corner of the goal to give Southeast a 3-2 lead.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host their home opener against the University of Tulsa at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville at 1:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.