LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Megan McCool tied the match with three minutes to play, but a Kentucky Wildcat goal with 24 seconds to play was the University of Arkansas women’s soccer team’s undoing as they lose in Lexington, Ky., 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 3-6-0 on the season and 0-2-0 in SEC action while Kentucky remains undefeated with a 5-0-5 overall record and a 1-0-1 clip in conference play.
“This was a difficult way to lose a game,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I was pleased with the fact that we didn’t give up and kept on fighting. With six starters out we are going to have to deal with adversity, but the staff is confident in the team and it is only the first two games of a long season. We won’t give up.”
On an overcast day in Lexington, Arkansas and Kentucky battled to a dead even first half as neither team was able to secure an advantage. Five shots by each team were knocked away by the opposing defenses and goalkeepers although the Lady Razorbacks were able to manage more shots on goal. Early in the half, freshman Abbey Wilburn took a 25-yard shot that soared just over the crossbar.
The best scoring attempt in the opening period by either team came with 16 minutes to play when Wilburn cracked another shot from outside the penalty area that was headed just under the crossbar had it not been for a great play by Kentucky goalkeeper Anne Ogundele who used a strong fist to knock the shot over the goal for a Lady Razorback corner kick.
The Wildcats scored first in the 55th minute when a lobbed kick was surrounded by two players as Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver came out to play. Kentucky was able to shield Dillsaver from making the play and the ball dropped to the ground eight yards from the goal. A quick turn by Sarah Gaunt allowed her to connect on her fourth goal of the season and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Kentucky was content to bunker their defense after the goal and prevent any real Lady Razorback attack, that was until late in the period when Christina Burger was the recipient of a great pass through the Wildcat defense which created a one-on-one opportunity. Burger took one touch then sent a shot toward the goal that was saved by Ogundele with a slide and sent out of bounds.
The Burger shot would not be the last for the Lady Razorbacks as they continued to pressure the Wildcats on their end. The attack would pay off not long after Burger’s shot as a Lady Razorback attack down the left side allowed a centering pass to Katie Stauffer 25-yards from goal. She sent a nice touch to McCool who hit a volley that sailed over the head of the Kentucky keeper and into the goal for the equalizing goal. McCool recorded her third goal of the season with the shot.
As the game wound down, Kentucky put together one final surge in the closing minute and made Arkansas pay for a defensive miscue. A Kentucky attack along the right side gave way to an eight-yard shot from the left side of the goal and the game winner with just 24 seconds to play.
The Lady Razorbacks return to Lady’Back Field for their next match, another SEC game against western division foe Mississippi State at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.