FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Katie Taylor scored the first goal of her career, but a shell shocked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team could not battle back from an early three-goal deficit as it fell to the University of Alabama in Southeastern Conference action, 3-1, at Lady’Back Field on Sunday afternoon.
A near season best crowd of 737 fans, the sixth largest in UA women’s soccer history, watched as the Lady’Backs dominated most of the possession but could not get the offensive output, dropping their overall record to 6-8-2 and 2-4-2 in SEC action. Alabama improves to 8-8-0 overall and 4-4-0 in SEC play.
“Any time you give up three goals it is hard to come back from,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “My hats off to Alabama. They went on the road in SEC play this weekend and picked up two big wins.”
With Arkansas hoping to get back on the winning side of the ledger, the Crimson Tide came out and caught the Lady’Backs on their heels and notched the game’s fist score at the 3:34 mark. Alabama didn’t let up once it scored its first as it poured in two more scores before the clock reached eight minutes forcing the Lady Razorbacks to play from a huge hole.
Down, but not out, Arkansas rallied and began to own the possession game. Forcing Alabama to play mostly in its half of the field, the Lady’Backs attempted to solve the defensive puzzle laid before them as all 11 Alabama players were on its own half of the field. As Arkansas’ momentum grew so did the noise from the crowd and the Lady’Backs forced four corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes. The third corner proved to be a charm as Katie Hamilton served a driving cross toward the far post. Taylor came streaking in from the 18-yard box and caught the ball around the six-yard box and sent a rocket into the near corner of the goal.
Taylor’s goal is the first of her career while Hamilton notched her fourth assist, but more importantly put Arkansas within two goals with momentum with 50 minutes to play.
The second half began with a bang for the Lady Razorbacks as Arkansas took the opening kick and marched it down the right side of the field giving sophomore Christina Burger a tremendous opportunity. Perhaps attempting to be a little too perfect, Burger’s shot sailed just wide of the far post, but to her credit had Alabama’s six-foot goalkeeper Laura Lowman bearing down on her.
“Tina had a great chance to start the second half,” Henderson said. “If she is able to score that goal it’s a 3-2 game with a whole half to play and we have the momentum.”
Arkansas’ continued to dominate the contest in the second half, but despite 10 second half shots, Alabama was able to keep Arkansas off the scoreboard and hold on for the 3-1 victory.
The Crimson Tide was led by Gillian Kilburn who notched the first and third goals of the contest.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday evening in another critical SEC match against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.