LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior Kathleen Paulsen scored in the first half for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team but it would not be enough as the Kentucky Wildcats converted on two penalty kicks to take a 2-1 victory in Lexington, Ky., on Friday night.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 8-7-1 overall and 1-5-1 in SEC action. Kentucky picks up its first SEC win and improves to 7-6-2 and 1-6-0 in league play.
“There was both positive and negative for me in this match,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team. They played exquisite soccer at times but I am very disappointed due to the circumstances beyond our control which robbed these women of an opportunity to win the game.”
The Wildcats put themselves on the scoreboard midway through the first half when the Lady Razorbacks were called for a foul inside the penalty area. On the aftermath of corner kick, a Lady Razorback defender took down one of the Kentucky players while chasing the loose ball and the referee was quick to blow his whistle and issue the kick. Kentucky’s Kelsey Fenix took the free shot and sent a strong shot into the upper right 90 for the game’s first score.
The Lady Razorbacks came right back at the Kentucky defense and not five minutes later had a golden opportunity to tie the score. Camille Flores took possession of the ball along the right touchline and streaked toward the center of the pitch. In a nifty give-and-go, Flores laid the ball off to the right side before getting the return pass quickly, but her 18-yard-shot sailed just wide of the Wildcat goal.
Arkansas appeared to be in business again minutes later when they were given their first corner of the match. A strong cross by Rachel Smith was battered around the mixer before a loose ball squirted out to the top of the penalty area. Freshman defender Sam Bolton would wind up on the shot and send it to the far post, but Kentucky’s Fenix was standing at the bar and kept the match scoreless.
The Lady Razorback pressure finally paid dividends with 10 minutes left in the first as Kathleen Pauslen tied the match at one with a nifty flick inside the six-yard box. Lindsay Patterson sent a long toss from the sideline to Paulsen who appeared to flick the ball on with the side of her foot. The shot must have surprised the Kentucky defense as no one reacted quickly to the shot and it rolled into the far side netting.
The Lady Razorbacks were down once again when a second penalty kick was called against Arkansas. The play stemmed from a ball played toward the Arkansas net that freshman goalkeeper Britni Williams came out to play. Williams appeared to have gotten to the rolling ball at the same time as the Kentucky player and in an effort to prevent the goal and protect herself, Williams ran over the Kentucky player who went to the turf hard. The action prompted the second PK which Fenix again sent to the right side which made the score 2-1 Kentucky.
With the fireworks of the first half all subsided, the final 45 minutes went without much happening. Neither team had any real quality attempts at goal although there were several saves by each goalkeeper. Williams made several good plays on Kentucky crosses to prevent shots and the Lady Razorback forwards were deep in Wildcat territory on several occasions but each of their attempts were thwarted at the point of attack.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon against the Vanderbilt Commodores. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.