FAYETTEVILLE – It was a unfortunate farewell for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer seniors as they fell to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Senior night at Lady’Back Field, 1-0, on Friday evening.
In a game that was dominated by rain, Arkansas’ opportunity to make the Southeastern Conference tournament began to wash away as a tough South Carolina defense kept the Lady’Backs off the scoreboard for 90 minutes of action. The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 6-9-2 overall and 2-5-2 in SEC play while South Carolina improves to 7-7-2 overall and 1-6-2 in conference action.
“This is really tough because it is our third loss in a row at home,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “It is also the last home game for our seniors and even though we created some opportunities in the second half, we just couldn’t score.”
South Carolina put themselves on the scoreboard midway through the opening half when an attack down the right side caught the Lady’Backs on their heels. Moving the ball into the penalty area, the Gamecocks sent a cross to the middle of the goal where Ashley Kirk took a shot that was saved by the Arkansas defense. After a moment of indecision on both sides, Kirk found the ball again and placed it in the upper corner of the goal for the game’s lone score.
“I thought that we were too conservative in the first half,” Henderson said. “But you have to give South Carolina credit. They played with confidence and were patient. They were the better side in the first half and you have to give them credit for that.”
After rain soaked the end of the first half, Arkansas came out in the second half ready to play and took it to the Gamecock defense. Creating numerous opportunities to score, no Lady Razorback player was able to get a strong foot on a shot giving South Carolina goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson several easy saves.
Arkansas’ best opportunities came late in the contest as the urgency of the match grew. Sophomore Christina Burger hit a pair of shots that looked like they might tie the match but one was saved and the other sailed wide of the goal. Freshman Sarah Gwisdala also got into the offensive picture as she knocked several crosses through the penalty area but to no avail. One such cross nearly found the head of senior Jenni Brashear but Thorstenson was able to snatch the ball out of the air just before Brashear could knock it into the goal.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla., at 12:30 p.m. central. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.