AUBURN, Ala. – The Razorback soccer team came out strong Thursday night, scoring a goal within the first seven minutes of each half to earn a 2-0 victory over Auburn at the Auburn Soccer Complex, its sixth shutout of the year
Senior Jessi Hartzler and sophomore Stefani Doyle both found the scoresheet in the win, while Arkansas’ defense held Auburn to just two shots on goal out of 14 possible shots. With Thursday’s clean sheet, Arkansas now has the third-most shutouts in a season in the Colby Hale era.
Arkansas (7-6-1, 2-2-1 SEC) earns an important three points with the victory and its the first win for the Razorbacks in Auburn since 1999.
“Some things came together for us tonight,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “We have been doing some good things and Auburn is a good team. Tonight, I thought we were deserving of the three points. There were some really big performances and we’ll enjoy this tonight before we get ready for a good South Carolina team starting tomorrow.”
Hartzler found the net in the seventh minute off a corner kick from Nayeli Perez to give Arkansas the early lead. It was Arkansas’ fourth goal off a corner this season and first from a set piece since the duo hooked up in the 3-1 win over Oral Roberts (Sept. 17).
Hartzler now has three goals on the year, while Perez totaled her team-leading sixth assist on the play.
Doyle doubled that lead in the 47th minute with her fourth score of the year of a right-footed strike on a counterattack. The sophomore now has two of the fastest goals scored by a Razorback to start a half in 2017. Along with her score tonight, her second minute goal against top-ranked Penn State still holds as the fastest Arkansas score this year.
Redshirt junior Jordan Harris picked up her fourth win of the year and notched two saves in the victory. Since the start of conference play, the Razorback defense has only allowed four goals for a 0.88 goals against average and has three shutouts during that span.
Arkansas 1, Auburn 0 – 7th Minute
Auburn came into Thursday night’s match as one of the best teams in the SEC on its home field as the Tigers were undefeated (5-0-1) at the Auburn Soccer Complex and had yet to allow a goal in conference play. Arkansas turned all of that upside down when it got an early corner in the match.
Perez’s kick from left found the foot of Hartzler by the far post to put the Razorbacks up 1-0 and was the first goal given up by the Tigers in league play this year.
The assist was Perez’s first point since connecting with Hartzler against Oral Roberts and gives her eight points on the year. Her six assists also tie for third most in the SEC this season.
Arkansas 2, Auburn 0 – 47th Minute
Coming out of halftime, Arkansas, again, went on the offensive and this time it was Doyle, who found the net. Freshman Taylor Malham got the Razorbacks on the counterattack near midfield and found Doyle racing down the right side. Doyle was able to make a run and finish with the right foot past the Auburn keeper to put her team up 2-0.
With now four goals on the year, Doyle ties with Malham and Katie Kienstra for second on the team. She also has five assists to total 13 points, good for second on the squad.
Arkansas comes back home to finish the weekend when it plays No. 3 South Carolina on Sunday at Razorback Field. It will be the third ranked opponent for Arkansas in its last four matches. First kick is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the match will be televised on ESPNU.
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