WACO, Texas – It was a tough start for Gordon Henderson and the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team as they played their first match of the 2004 season, an exhibition contest against Baylor University in Waco, Texas, falling 3-0.
Entering the contest tired after seven straight days of two-a-day practices, Arkansas struggled with its touch throughout the 90-minute affair, but still managed to put together several highlights on which to build upon despite the humid, low 90’s temperature at kickoff.
“This is exactly what we needed,” Henderson said. “We played a good team that was playing faster and more physical. They were stronger on and off the ball and had an attitude to win. You can’t replicate that in practice. This is certainly not all doom and gloom, we just got beat by a better team tonight.”
Controlling much of the game’s tempo, the Bears got on the scoreboard first in the 22nd minute when Kristin Ruef took a brilliant cross that sailed over the Arkansas defense and after taking possession of the ball with a bump of her chest Ruef headed the ball over Carrie Dillsaver. The cross was sent into the mixer by Margaret Kaderli from the right side.
Up to that point it was Dillsaver who kept the game scoreless when she made an outstanding save just three minutes into the contest. The Bears created a one-on-one against Dillsaver at the top of the penalty area, reacting quickly, Dillsaver came off the goal line to cut down the angle, then dropped to her right side to stop the point blank shot. Just 10 minutes later, the Claremore, Okla., native came up big again as she picked off a corner kick that would have easily been sent into the net had she not been in the correct position.
Dillsaver made six saves on the evening to lead the Lady Razorbacks including a trifecta that could very well have made the contest more lopsided.
Arkansas’ best scoring opportunity came in the first half came in the 40th minute when a Holly Rosen corner kick ricocheted off the head of fellow junior Megan McCool, then off a Baylor defender and just over the crossbar.
Baylor was on the scoreboard again, just 2:09 into the second half when a pair of missed clearing opportunities by the Lady Razorbacks were taken advantage of by the Bears as a two-on-one developed inside the six-yard box. A pass and a shot later and it was a favorable tilt toward the home squad as they led 2-0.
The Bears took a 3-0 lead in the 58th minute, but an undaunted Lady Razorback squad came right back and created a very good scoring chance as Morgan McCord pinged a ball from 45 yards out toward an open net, but a quick recovering Baylor defense stopped the ball 10 yards from goal.
The Lady Razorbacks now prepare for their regular season debut against the Southeast Missouri State Ohtakians in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Friday, August 27. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.