FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In just her second game of the 2008 season, senior forward Lindsay Patterson powered the Razorback offense and behind a nine-save performance from sophomore Britni Williams, Arkansas (6-1) blanked Western Michigan, 3-0, on Friday at Razorback Field. Patterson tallied a five-point effort, a career high, to help Arkansas extend its winning streak to five.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back on the field, especially in a home game,” Patterson said. “To be able to come back and score two goals, it’s a relief to think ‘ok, I’ve still got and I haven’t lost in past couple of months sitting on the sideline.’”
On the Razorbacks’ first goal of the night, Patterson was on the receiving end of a good bounce as her shot deflected off the opposing goalkeeper and bounced across the goal line at the 26:31 mark. The play was set up by freshman Kailey Anders from the left side of the goal.
The assist was the first of two on the night for the freshman from Allen, Texas. The two assists is a career high which brings her season total to a team-leading three.
“We also saw a fantastic performance from Anders tonight and not just because of the assists,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I think it was the work rate she showed. One of the things I said to her when she came off the field was ‘welcome to the SEC’ because we’re going to need that from her. That’s a freshman learning and she’s got it now, but we’ve seen it coming.”
Less than a minute before halftime, the Patterson-Anders combination hooked up again with an added assist from Lauren Hallauer, the transfer defender from Ohio State. From midfield, Hallauer put a pass into Anders who was running up the left side. After a touch to settle the ball, Anders centered the ball to a streaking Patterson who made a strong turn and deposited the ball into the back of the net past Broncos’ goalkeeper Julia Francy.
“The first goal was kind of lucky,” Patterson said. “You hope it’s a good touch and it’ll go in, but on the second goal, me and Kailey just connected and it went in, so that’s a great feeling.”
The offense wasn’t the only Arkansas unit clicking during the game. Henderson was pleased with the overall performance from his team in all areas of the game.
“I think what we saw tonight was a complete game for us in many parts of the game,” Henderson said. “I thought our goalkeeping was outstanding. I thought our backline did very well and I thought our midfield worked very hard. We saw some great, great finishes from the front line.”
Williams proved to be the defensive anchor for the Razorbacks. The sophomore keeper’s nine saves are one behind her career best and she showed her athleticism with a few diving stops to keep the Broncos off the scoreboard. This is her fourth consecutive shutout and fifth of the year.
“To be fair, (Western Michigan) had a couple of good looks at the goal,” said Henderson. “They had a great strike that pinged off the post. There were a couple of balls in the box that needed just a little bit more to get in, and the rest of the time Britni was there. For as many goals as we could have scored, they could have had one or two goals, as well.”
Western Michigan made a push in the second half that forced Williams to make a couple of sprawling saves. At the 58:05 mark, the Broncos’ Kelsey Carmichael fired a shot caught the crossbar, but bounced back in front of the net where Thalia Playford was waiting for the rebound, but Williams held her position and knocked the ball away.
Arkansas’ third goal came in the 50th minute when Patterson and Kelly O’Connor combined on a breakaway score. Abbey Wilburn started the play with a ball from midfield that found Patterson on the right who dribbled the ball into the box and shuffled it over to O’Connor for the score. It is the fifth goal of the year for O’Connor; she has now scored at least one point in five-straight games.
“The thing that’s exciting is that (Patterson) holds the ball so well and she’s got a great instinct for the goal,” Henderson said. “When you look at Kelly O’Connor and Patterson combining for that third goal, that’s a scary combination.”
Arkansas will return to the field Sunday for a 1:30 p.m. contest with Nicholls St. at Razorback Field. The team will be looking for a sixth-straight win as it heads into SEC play next weekend. In the day’s opener, Missouri St. and Western Michigan will face off at 11 a.m. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more details and continued coverage of UA soccer.