FAYETTEVILLE – On a record-setting day at Lady’Back Field the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team shut out Mississippi State, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon on a game-winning goal by junior Lindsay Patterson in the 18th minute.
Arkansas’ victory improves it to 8-3-0 on the year and 1-1-0 in Southeastern Conference play while Mississippi State falls to 4-6-0 overall and 0-2-0 in league action. The Lady Razorback shutout was their eighth of the season matching the single-season school record which has been set two times, 1991 and 1996.
“This was a really tough test for a young team,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We scored a very good goal to go up 1-0 and that allowed us to dictate the pace of the game. We had good ball movement and I was very pleased with the attitude of our players. There was never any panic even though we went through a couple of lulls on the field.”
The eventual game-winning score came on a brilliant move by freshman Kelly O’Connor who took control of the ball on the left side of goal. Dribbling deep into the penalty area, O’Connor drew a defender and the goalkeeper toward her before sending a crisp pass across the turf to Patterson at the top of the six-yard box. Patterson needed just one touch to deposit the ball into the goal and give the Lady’Backs a much-needed edge.
Patterson’s strike was her fifth of the season, momentarily tying her with O’Connor for the team lead. The strike was also her third game-winning goal of the season which leads the Lady Razorbacks and puts her among Arkansas’ all-time leaders in the category for a single season.
The Lady’Backs nearly made it a 2-0 game with 31 minutes to play when a corner kick from Rachel Smith went sailing across the face of the goal, over the keeper and into the net. As the pro-Arkansas crowd erupted, the center official blew his whistle for a foul in the box disallowing the strike.
Undeterred by the setback, Arkansas was back on the offensive minutes later. A run by Alison Harter down the right side was stepped by a hard foul just outside the penalty area. Smith set up to take the free kick, which began three yards outside the left corner of the 18-yard box, and hit a strike past the wall and into the chest area of the Bulldogs keeper. Unable to control the shot, the ball bounced off the goalkeeper’s hands allowing O’Connor to bury the ball into the back of the net for her sixth of the season.
Defensively, Arkansas was superb on the day holding Mississippi State to just four shots with only one finding its way to goalkeeper Britni Williams. Williams was credited with her sixth shutout and eighth win of the season, the prior improving on her school record for first-year players and the latter matching the record. In 11 matches this season, Williams has allowed only five goals and accumulated a goals against average of just 0.46 which continues to be among the nation’s best.
The Lady Razorbacks continue their home stand next weekend when they host Georgia and Tennessee next Friday night and Sunday afternoon at Lady’Back Field. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.