FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Katie Stauffer scored her first career goal to tie the game at one, but a momentary lapse by the Lady Razorbacks led to a goal as the University of Arkansas soccer team fell to the Oklahoma Sooners, 2-1, at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
The gloomy skies at kickoff seemed to be an omen of what was to come as the Sooners would walk away from Lady’Back Field with a hard fought victory thus ending Arkansas’ two-match winning streak and undefeated home campaign.
“This was undoubtedly the best game that we have played all year,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “It was a chess game from the beginning and I thought that our fitness level was outstanding. It was a very well played game, but we relaxed for 30 seconds and that led to the goal. The thing that I find interesting is how disappointed we are about the loss to such a good team. If we can play like this over the long term, then we should be OK.”
A scoreless game throughout the first half, the two team were very evenly matched with Arkansas gaining the advantage on shots, 5-2, but the Sooners the edge on corner kicks 2-0. Following the first 45 minutes both teams appeared as if they would remain unscored upon as defense ruled the afternoon.
That changed at the beginning of the second half as Oklahoma came out of the locker room like gang busters and put immediate pressure on the Lady Razorbacks. Perhaps caught a bit on their heels, the Lady’Backs thwarted several Oklahoma attacks, but at 48:36 the Sooners struck pay dirt as Allyson Kucera connected on a cross from a corner kick.
Up 1-0, Oklahoma seemed to lead the pace of the contest, but as the Lady Razorbacks chipped away at the Sooner armor the boisterous crowd of 529 once again started to back Arkansas. In the 76th minute the pendulum of momentum swung Arkansas’ way and a hard foul 40 yards out along the sideline led to an Arkansas free kick. Sophomore Allison Harris took the opportunity to place the ball into the center of the goal mouth where it found the foot of Stauffer who knocked the three-yard shot into the goal for the game’s equalizer.
Stauffer’s goal is the first of her career and she becomes the fifth Lady Razorback to tally a goal this season in four contests. No Arkansas player has more than one score. Harris picked up her second career assist and first of the season as she now leads the Lady Razorbacks in scoring with a goal and an assist.
Arkansas’ joy was quickly cast aside when Oklahoma came right back to take the lead just 52 seconds after Arkansas’ goal. This time breaking down the Lady Razorback defense, Arkansas allowed a pass through the back line that switched the field of attack giving Andrea Hurley a clear shot on Lady Razorback keeper Carrie Dillsaver. Caught at a crossroads, Dillsaver came out to cut down the angle, but Hurley snuck a shot around Arkansas’ defensive leader to give the Sooners the edge.
If it weren’t for Dillsaver, the score could have been much different. She picked up her season high for saves with eight in the contest including a pair that were first class. In one she deflected a 25-yard shot that was headed for the upper corner of the net over the crossbar and then late in the contest stymied a 1-v-1 opportunity with a tremendous kick save 13 yards from the net.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Oral Roberts University to take on the Golden Eagles at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.