FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas women’s soccer team maintained its unbeaten record in Southeastern Conference play and on its home pitch on Friday night, as the Razorbacks picked up a shutout win with a 1-0 victory over Vanderbilt at Razorback Field.
Arkansas (6-2-4, 2-0-2 SEC) picked up an important three points in the SEC standings thanks to a goal in the 50th minute by senior Hailey Pescatore. The Razorbacks put up a strong defensive effort on Friday night as they picked up their third shutout of the season. The also win extends Arkansas’ unbeaten streak to six games as they are now 3-0-3 over the stretch.
Pescatore scored her first career goal in a Razorback uniform thanks to a shot from sophomore Rachel Riggs that bounced crossbar and landed in front of sophomore Alexandria Fischer and sent a cross inside the 18-yard box to Pescatore, who buried the shot into the bottom left of the goal.
The Razorbacks had to survive an aggressive Commodore (5-6-1, 0-3-1 SEC) attack after the goal, as seven of Vanderbilt’s nine shots on the night came in the second stanza.
Sophomore Cameron Carter tallied four saves in the winning effort to pick up her third shutout of the season. It was the first shutout victory of the season for Carter, as she previously picked up a pair of scoreless draws against Texas (Aug. 29) and Rice (Sept. 12).
Arkansas posted four of its five shots on goal over the first 45 minutes, yet they were unable to break through as the two teams played to a scoreless tie. The first half shut out marked the 12th time this season that Commodore goalie Christiana Ogunsami has kept a clean sheet in the first 45 minutes of play.
The Razorbacks had a chance to end that streak in the sixth minute, as sophomore Claire Kelley placed a header on goal. However, Ogunsami was able to make the read on the shot and punched the ball over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
Arkansas got on the board five minutes into the second half with a Pescatore goal.
The sequence started off with a 25-yard shot that drilled the left side of the crossbar from Riggs. The bounce off the bar landed in front of a crowd inside the 18, but it was Fischer taking control of the ball, as she sent a cross over to a wide-open Pescatore. The senior blasted the shot to the left side of the goal, past a diving Ogunsami, to record her first career goal and give the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead.
Vanderbilt had a pair of scoring opportunities pass by in the 59th minute, as Simon Charley’s shot drilled the crossbar. The ricochet went out of the 18-yard box, but the Commodores recovered quickly and posted another attack on goal. Gena Inbusch’s shot from eight yards out was blocked by an Arkansas defender for a corner kick, but the Commodores service on the ensuing corner was off the mark, ending the scoring threat.
Arkansas withstood an aggressive Vanderbilt attack for the remainder of the game, as the Commodores fired seven second half shots. Yet, the Razorback defense stood tall as Carter posted three saves in the frame to pick up her third shutout of the year and the first shutout victory this season.
The Razorbacks will be back in action on Sunday as they wrap up a two-game SEC homestand with a contest against league leader and No. 6 Florida. The contest will feature the only two remaining unbeaten teams in SEC play, as the Gators come in with a 4-0-0 record in league play. Kick-off is set for 11 a.m. at Razorback Field and will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network.
- Arkansas is now on a six-game unbeaten streak, they are 3-0-3 over that stretch.
- Razorbacks are now 30-20-5 under head coach Colby Hale.
- Arkansas is now 103-86-15 at Razorback Field.
- The win gives Arkansas a 19-7-2 record at home under Hale.
- Arkansas is now 58-123-16 all-time in SEC play.
- The Razorbacks are now 13-12-3 in SEC games under Hale.
- The win gives Coach Hale a 2-1-0 record against Vanderbilt.
- Arkansas is now 10-17-1 against the Commodores all-time.
- The Razorbacks are now 6-8-0 against Vanderbilt in games in Fayetteville.
- The win, coupled with Texas A&M’s loss to Florida, makes Arkansas one of two unbeaten teams in SEC play.
- Hailey Pescatore’s goal is the first of the season and of her career.
- Alexandria Fischer’s assist gives her seven points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the last seven games.
- Rachel Riggs’ assist is her second of the year and the sixth of her career.
- Cameron Carter’s shutout is the third of the season and the 10th of her career.
Head Coach Colby Hale
On the win
“I think the thing we are elite at is just winning. They are a tough group, nothing fazes them. I thought in the first half, we were quite good defensively. We held them to two shots and a corner. Vanderbilt has some special attacking players, so I thought we did a really good job at eliminating their chances.”
On the team’s defensive effort
“The good players are going to get their chances and we knew that. You aren’t going to hold them chanceless, but overall I thought they had one good chance over 90 minutes. That’s a credit to our back four.”
“Everything in the SEC is difficult. Florida is on the road. We will be up for the challenge. They are a very, very good team, an elite team. We like our team, so we are going to go to battle and see how Sunday turns out.”
Freshman Jessi Hartzler
On getting a clean sheet
“It feels nice. I have great players in front of me and we just worked as a team and get through it together.”
On making an impact as a freshman
“I have great players around me who build me up. I have just had to come in and be strong and stay positive, encourage my teammates.”
On the win
“It was great, being at home especially. Our fans are wonderful. Just getting that win and the three points. On to the next one.”
Senior Hailey Pescatore
On her goal
“We work on it in practice all the time and honestly my first thought was you better not mess this up. At least create a chance and I’m just lucky it went in.”
On the shutout
“It’s a really good feeling, especially since we have been tying lately. Coach talked about at halftime to do whatever you can to get runs in and put it in the goal. We did it, it felt good.”
On what changed in the second half
“I think we just really wanted to win. We came out, worked hard and defended well as a team. We worked on our runs in the boxes. Everything just worked out nice for us.”
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