FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Katie Hamilton made the most of her senior day for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team, scoring her third goal of the season in the third minute of action to help the Lady’Backs to a 1-1 tie against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Lady’Back Field on Sunday afternoon.
The tie moves the Lady Razorbacks to 10-5-2 overall and 3-4-2 in SEC play while South Carolina sits at 11-5-3 on the year and 5-2-3 in conference action.
“I am certainly proud of the energy that our team showed today,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We had a horrendous road trip to Florida with several flight delays and I think that we saw the result of that after the first 20 minutes. I am very proud of the way the ladies were able to pick themselves up and dominate the second half. I thought that we were very unlucky hitting three or four off the bar and South Carolina was able to score one goal. I think that South Carolina is leaving here knowing that they were lucky to get a point. We very easily could have lost it after they scored, but at the end I thought that we created better looks.”
Hamilton got Arkansas started at the 2:22 mark when she lofted a 20-yard shot from outside the penalty area that sailed over an unsuspecting South Carolina goalkeeper. Possessing the ball in the Carolina half and making them work hard to get a clear, the Lady’Backs were able to get the ball inside the penalty area where Allison Harris, with her back to goal, sent a short pass back to Hamilton who let her shot fly.
With a 1-0 lead, Arkansas was forced to weather a heated South Carolina attack midway through the first half in which the Gamecocks played most of the match in Arkansas defensive end, but a solid Lady’Back side was up to the challenge and even pushed several at the Gamecock defense.
In the second half, it was all Arkansas both on the field and in the stats page as they controlled the tempo and came painfully close to a second score. South Carolina used a quick counter to even the score in the 56th minute when an Erin Geldhof cross into the penalty area landed between a pair of Arkansas defenders where Samantha Diaz-Matosas ran onto the ball and headed it past the Lady’Backs giving her an open net goal.
Looking to go up once more, the Lady’Backs peppered the South Carolina goal with shots, but each went right to the goalkeeper or just wide to preserve the 1-1 tie. The Lady Razorbacks knocked two shots off the crossbar, one off the post and another that would have beat the goalkeeper but rolled just outside the post, not to mention a header off a corner from Christina Burger that required a world-class save from Carolina’s Laura Armstrong.
The Arkansas chances continued in the two 10-minute overtime periods, but not with the same frequency and the match would end in a 1-1 tie. The lone Arkansas point keeps it at 10th in the SEC standings following all matches played on Sunday afternoon, but keeps the Lady’Backs in the hunt for the conference tournament in two weeks as they sit just three points shy of seventh position and six of fourth with two games to play.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next Friday night when they take on the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La., in a match that could determine Arkansas’ post-season fate. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.