CARY, N.C. — The Razorback soccer team hopes to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history this weekend as it faces Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park. First kick is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and will be televised on ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN.com.
NCAA Tournament Second Round Match Info
Opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies (10-7-3, 5-5-0 ACC)
Date: Friday, Nov. 16
Location: WakeMed Soccer Park (Cary, N.C.)
First Kick: 1 p.m. CT
Live Stats: TBA
TV: ACC Network Extra (WatchESPN.com)
Arkansas (14-4-4, 6-3-1 SEC) fresh off a huge first round victory over Sun Belt-champion Little Rock by a score of 5-1. All five Razorback goals came in the first half and ended up being Arkansas’ largest goal output in a game this season.
The win marked the fourth time Arkansas has advanced past the first round in the NCAA Tournament and was the largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament match in school history. Juniors Kayla McKeon, Tori Cannata, Stefani Doyle, sophomore Taylor Malham and freshman Tyler Runnels all netted goals in the win over the Trojans. The first two Arkansas goals came in the opening 10 minutes and Malham’s goal in the third minutes was the second-fastest goal by a Razorback this season.
McKeon and Cannata both continue to match each other in the goals category as they lead the team with nine goals each this season. Malham has been on fire this postseason as she has seven points in her last four matches, including three, combining a goal and an assist, against the Trojans.
McKeon’s nine goals matches her total from her freshman year (2016), which is a career-best. She led all Razorbacks in last week’s match with a season-high four points. She scored her goal in the 10th minute and added assists on Malham’s goal in the third minute and Cannata’s goal in the 13th minute.
Defensively, Arkansas had one of its strongest matches of the year against Little Rock, holding the Trojans to just one first-half shot. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Beitz earned her ninth victory of the year between the posts, but was only challenged twice as she just missed out on her seventh clean sheet of the season.
Friday will mark the first time Arkansas and Virginia Tech have ever met on the soccer pitch. The Hokies will be the fourth ACC team to face the Razorbacks in the NCAA Tournament 2013. Arkansas last faced a team from the ACC when it faced NC State in the first round of last year’s tournament.
>> Arkansas is making its fourth all-time appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday when it takes on Virginia Tech in Cary, N.C.
>> The Razorbacks reached the Round of 32 by blowing past Sun Belt-champion Little Rock, 5-1, last week. All five goals came in the first half and it was Arkansas’ largest goal output ever in an NCAA Tournament match.
>> In three of its last four prior appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Arkansas has made it to the second round, earning wins over Oklahoma State (2013), Oklahoma (2014), and Memphis (2016).
>> All five of Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament appearances have come under head coach Colby Hale. Arkansas had never made the tournament field prior to 2013 when Hale became head coach.
>> The Razorbacks reached the Sweet 16 in 2013, its first-ever tournament appearance, defeating Oklahoma State, and St. John’s before falling to Duke in penalty kicks.
>> Since Colby Hale became the head coach in 2013, Arkansas has only missed the NCAA Tournament one time.
>> With the win over Little Rock last week, Arkansas earned its 14th victory of the year marking only the third time in program history it has won 14 or more games in a season (18 – 2016; 15 – 2013).
>> Arkansas is coming off its third-straight SEC Tournament final appearance. After solidifying a four-seed in the conference tournament, the Razorbacks defeated Ole Miss and Florida for their 12th and 13th wins of the season.
>> Juniors Kayla McKeon and Tori Cannata both scored goals in Arkansas’ 5-1 win over Little Rock, giving them each nine goals this season. McKeon has now matched her career high for goals in a season, while Cannata’s previous career high was one goal in each of the past two years.
>> Sophomore Taylor Malham has been an offensive force during the postseason, amounting for seven points in her last four starts. Last week against Little Rock, she amassed a season high three points (1 goal, 1 assist).
>> Since being named the starting goalkeeper, redshirt sophomore Taylor Beitz has racked up six shutouts in 12 starts. She has the fifth-lowest goals against average (0.88) in the SEC.
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