FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Megan McCool dinged the post and junior Christina Burger forced the University of Mississippi to make a team save on the goal line as the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks fell on Sunday afternoon, 1-0, at Lady’Back Field.
Arkansas’ loss drops it to 4-7-0 overall and 1-3-0 in Southeastern Conference play while Ole Miss improves to 9-3-0 and 3-1-0 in conference action.
“I thought that we played very well in the first half,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We very easily could have been up by two or three at halftime, but that’s the way the game goes. It was a tough game to lose because we were so unfortunate, but our team gave everything they had on the field today.”
The Lady Razorbacks were not without their chances in both halves, but were a dominating presence in the opening 45 minutes. In the 26th minute, McCool put together an inspired solo effort when she took possession of the ball around midfield and dribbled at the Ole Miss goal. Taking on and getting past four Rebel defenders, McCool took a sharp angled shot from just outside the six-yard box that beat the goalkeeper, only to ding off the post and bounce back into play. The rebound was then cleared by a stunned Rebel team.
Not long after, Arkansas put together another golden opportunity when Christina Burger took a cross from Abbey Wilburn near the far right post and hit a three-yard shot that also beat the Ole Miss goalkeeper only to be cleared by a Rebel defender who was guarding the back post.
“Ole Miss is a team that I think is one of the favorites to win the SEC West,” Henderson said. “There are no moral victories for us at this point, but I believe that this match shows that we can play with anyone in the conference.”
After dodging bullets in the opening half, Ole Miss came out in the second and put their deep bench to good use. Making frequent substitutions, the Rebels were able to stay fresh under the humid conditions and glaring sun, a key factor as the game neared its conclusion. In the 63rd minute, Ole Miss’ Brittney Potts hit a laser from outside the penalty area that cracked the crossbar and was subsequently cleared by the Lady Razorbacks.
Pott’s shot off the crossbar was just a precursor of things to come as she would connect just four minutes later on another long shot, this one into the upper right corner of the goal to give Ole Miss a 1-0 lead heading into the final stretch of the contest.
The Arkansas loss to Mississippi is another one-goal decision in an 11-game series that has been dominated by the Rebels. The two schools have been separated by a single goal in eight contests with the last coming in 2002 in Oxford, Miss.
Defensively for the Lady Razorbacks, Devon Burger, Megan Fawley and Katie Taylor were superb in their 90-minutes of play while Andrea Sparks and Katie Stauffer tag-teamed in the fourth defender slot which held the Rebels to just nine shots overall with only two targeted at the goal.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday night when they host nationally-ranked Tennessee at Lady’Back Field beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.