FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team rebounded from its Friday night loss and bolstered by an Arkansas’ record crowd, picked up its first win of the 2004 season when it defeated the Tulsa Golden hurricane at Lady’Back Field on Sunday afternoon, 1-0.
The victory is the first under Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson who took over the program in December and evens the Lady Razorbacks’ record at 1-1-0. The loss drops Tulsa to 0-2-0. The 639 fans in attendance on Sunday afternoon were the seventh largest crowd in Lady’Back Field history and set the UA mark for a home opener.
It didn’t take long for the Lady Razorbacks to get on the scoreboard. Following a change in its pregame ritual which included the Arkansas fight song being played just prior to kickoff, the Lady Razorbacks quickly moved the ball up the field into the Tulsa end. After a shot was blocked out front, junior Megan McCool called for the ball and blasted a shot from 22 yards out that snuck in under the crossbar and over the outstretched hand of Tulsa goalkeeper Pam Devore for the game’s first and only score.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game we have played, but I liked the heart and passion that we played with,” Henderson said. “They showed a great commitment to play for each other and in order to learn how to win, you must win first. I’m happy to get this first win of the season and happy to beat Tulsa. It validates all the hard work that these young ladies have put in throughout the preseason.”
Following the game’s first tally, Arkansas dominated the time of possession through the first 20-minutes of play, but Tulsa wasn’t finished as it mounted a strong comeback, taking some of the wind out of Arkansas’ sails. The Tulsa momentum led to what appeared to be the game’s equalizing goal at 27:25 when a shot snuck into the bottom corner of the net, but the referee immediately blew a foul on a Tulsa player for pushing Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver preserving the 1-0 Lady Razorback lead.
Arkansas’ victory over Tulsa is its first in 10 years dating back to a 2-0 decision in Fayetteville on Sept. 21, 1994. The Golden Hurricane had won six of the past seven decisions against the Lady Razorbacks with the last being a 3-3 tie back in 1996.
For Arkansas, it was the play of junior defender Meredith Thompson who sparked some of the Lady Razorbacks early offensive efforts. Thompson was flying up and down the left flank disrupting the Tulsa flow until she was replaced midway through the first half. Picking up where Thompson left off was the freshman trio of Carmen Davis, Sarah Gwisdala and Alison Harter who each provided quality minutes in the win. Unsung heroes included Dillsaver who recorded three saves to pick up her seventh career win between the posts, sophomore outside midfielder Katie Hamilton who played the entire 90 minutes and was a stalwart defensively and created numerous Arkansas chances on the other end and midfielder Kristie Holman who started her first game at forward for Arkansas and was a huge target for Arkansas’ midfielders.
The Lady Razorbacks remain at home next weekend when they face Southwest Missouri State and the University of Oklahoma Friday and Sunday. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.