DURHAM, N.C. – No. 19 Duke tallied three second-half goals to hand number No. 18 Arkansas its first loss of the 2014 season with a 3-0 victory on Friday night.
Friday’s game was a rematch of last season’s NCAA Sweet 16 pairing, in which Arkansas lost in 5-3 penalty kicks, and unfortunately for the Razorbacks, the rematch ended the same way as last year’s result. No overtime would be needed this time however, as Duke earned a 3-0 victory thanks to second-half goals from the duo of Kelly Cobb and Toni Payne.
Payne, the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week, set up Cobb with a pair of goals in the 60th and 77th minute and added a goal of her own in the 89th to give Duke its third straight win.
For Arkansas, it is the first time this season they have suffered a defeat, and the second time this season they have been held scoreless, as they played a 0-0 tie at Texas last Friday night.
The Razorbacks and Blue Devils played to a scoreless tie in the first half, as Arkansas was able to survive couple of scoring opportunities from Duke.
The first solid scoring chance for the Blue Devils came in the 29th minute, as Danielle Duhl collected the ball deep into the 18-yard box, but her shot would be sent wide of the goal for a Razorback goal-kick.
Arkansas dodged an even bigger bullet right before the break, as Duke had a three-on-two advantage in open field and were able to get a through ball past the Razorback defense to put Krysia Sikora in a one-on-one situation against sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Carter. Fortunately for Arkansas, Sikora mishit the ball as it rolled harmlessly into the hands of Carter.
The Razorbacks collected just three shots in the first 45 minutes of play, two of which came from junior Ashleigh Ellenwood.
Both teams remained scoreless over the first 15 minutes of the second half, but unable to make a clean clearance out of the box ended up costing Arkansas in the 60th minute.
After applying consistent pressure in the 18-yard box for a few seconds, Duke swung the ball out wide to Toni Payne. After a pair of touches, Payne sent a cross in front of the goal to Kelly Cobb, who blasted the ball off the crossbar. The ricochet took a Duke bounce, as it fell behind both Carter and the goal line to give the senior her second goal of the year.
Arkansas had a chance at the equalizer in the 69th minute, as Ellenwood’s throw-in deflected off a Blue Devil defender and rolled to a running Rachel Riggs. Riggs put a lot of pace on the shot, but it would be deflected off the fingertips of the Duke goalie.
Over the next few minutes Arkansas had several chances at a goal, as they collected three corners in a two-minute span. However, the Razorbacks were unable to capitalize off the set pieces, as they still faced the one-goal disadvantage with 20 minute remaining.
The Razorbacks kept applying pressure of the next five minutes, as they collected another pair of corners. Yet again, Arkansas was unable to take advantage of the set pieces, as the Blue Devil defense kept them out of the goal.
Arkansas sent a high towering shot into the box only to find the arms of the Duke goalie. The Blue Devils transitioned quickly down the field and the ball would eventually find Payne, as she took a pair of touches into the left corner of the 18-yard box.
Payne sent a cross that entered the six-yard box and found a streaking Cobb who took a shot in stride to collect her second goal of the game, giving her team a 2-0 lead in the 77th minute.
After handing out a pair of assists, Payne concluded the Blue Devil’s scoring on the night with a goal in the 89th minute to help her team collect the 3-0 result.
Duke held a 17-12 advantage in shots and won the battle in shots on goal, 7-5. Ellenwood collected a game-high five shots, while Riggs followed with four. After being outdone in corners (6-1) in the first half, Arkansas was able to post eight second-half corners to win the battle, 9-8.
The Razorbacks will be back in action on Sunday morning, as they conclude the Duke Nike Classic with a matchup against No. 12/14 North Carolina. The Tar Heels posted a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory over No. 7/8 Penn State early today in the Classic’s first game. Start time is slated for 11 a.m. CT.
COACH HALE POSTGAME SOUND
On 3-0 Loss to No. 19 Duke
“Our program has earned a lot of firsts here. We always talk about earning everything we get, and tonight I thought we earned a 3-0 result. The first half we were very good, competed hard we played like we do, but in the second half Duke was the better team. A lot of credit goes to them, but the second half was uncharacteristic of our team.”
Looking Ahead to Sunday against No. 12 North Carolina
“We are looking forward to playing again on Sunday, and I feel quite confident that we will be up for the challenge.”
• Tonight’s loss is the third straight loss to Duke, as the Razorbacks are now 0-3-0 vs. the Blue Devils.
• Tonight’s shutout marks the second straight Friday that Arkansas has been held scoreless.
• The three goals allowed were the most this season by the Razorbacks and the most allowed since Oct. 25, 2013 when they dropped a 3-1 decision to Auburn.
• Arkansas is now 27-19-3 overall under head coach Colby Hale.
• The Razorbacks are now 4-2-1 as a ranked team in the Hale era.
• The loss drops Arkansas to 3-6-0 vs. Top 25 teams under Coach Hale.
• Arkansas is now 8-10-1 on the road in three years under Hale.
• Arkansas’ last victory over a ranked team came on Sept. 27, 2013 with a 3-0 win over No. 14 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
• Sunday’s match against No. 12/14 North Carolina marks the first time since Sept. 27 & 29, 2012 that Arkansas has played back-to-back ranked opponents.
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