FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A frenzied second half push came up short for Arkansas soccer, as the Razorbacks fell to visiting Tennessee 1-0 in their SEC opener on Friday night. Ariel Kupritz scored the lone goal of the match in the 34th minute and the Volunteers held on for the shutout win.
The Razorbacks threw the kitchen sink at Tennessee goalkeeper Julie Eckel, who came into the day leading the SEC in saves (24) and shutouts (5). Arkansas registered 18 shots, compared to four for the Volunteers, but Eckel saved all five directed towards the net.
“Tennessee is a good team and congrats to them, but we played well enough to win,” head coach Colby Hale said. “It’s a frustrating one, but for all of the right reasons. We outshot them 18-4 and fought for every ball; we do that consistently and we will win a lot of games. I’m very proud of our players for a complete team effort.”
In the second half especially, Arkansas spent a lot of time in the attacking end, as the hosts outshot Tennessee 11-1, with a 6-1 corner kick advantage in the final 45 minutes alone. Perhaps the best opportunity was from the foot of Gabriella DeLeon in the 51st minute. During a scrum in the box, DeLeon fired a low liner toward net, but Eckel was there to knock it away.
By the time the horn sounded, Eckel turned away two more chances from the Razorbacks for her sixth clean sheet of the season in seven matches. All in all, the Volunteers have allowed only one goal in 690 minutes of play and improved to 3-0-4. On the flip side, Arkansas was shut out for the first time all season, and lost its third consecutive contest to drop to 3-3-0.
Up next, the Razorbacks go back to non-conference play, as the UMKC ‘Roos hop into town for a Sunday evening showdown. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m., and it will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night, as well as Camper Reunion Night at Razorback Field.
For more information on Arkansas Soccer during the season, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.