FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Four different Razorbacks found the back of the net Thursday night against Kentucky, helping the Razorback soccer team to a 4-0 shutout at Razorback Field, its fifth shutout of the year and 10th win overall.
Arkansas (10-3-2, 5-2-0 SEC), with the victory, locks up its third-straight 10-win season, fourth under head coach Colby Hale. The Razorbacks also remain unbeaten at home at 8-0-1 with only one regular-season match remaining at Razorback Field.
Juniors Kayla McKeon and Tori Cannata continued showcasing their offensive prowess as each scored one of Arkansas’ season-high four goals and continued to share the team lead with seven goals on the year. Freshman Emily Russell and sophomore Brooke Pirkle also contributed to the offensive outburst with their first goals of the season.
For Russell, it was her first goal of her career and third match tallying a point this season. As for McKeon, the Texas native has at least one point in five of Arkansas’ seven conference matches, including four of the last five.
McKeon still holds the edge in the team lead in points (16 points) and sophomore Taylor Malham tallied her team-leading eighth assist on Cannata’s goal in the 54th minute.
From Head Coach Colby Hale
“It was a good performance and a good result. I’m very proud of our team. We will watch the video and find some areas where we can grow before we move on to preparing for a very good Mississippi State team. We will get a little time off and regenerate. The players have certainly earned this little break.”
From Sophomores Haley VanFossen and Abbi Neece
“I love all of our fans. They help us out, even, sometimes, when we can’t hear anything. They just energize us more and makes us want to win it for them.” – Abbi Neece on the role the crowd plays into a match
“Our fans are a big part of this program. Even our bench tonight was loud and yelling back and forth with our fans. It’s just nice to have a fan base that’s so passionate about us and wants us to do well.” – Haley VanFossen on what the fans brought in tonight’s victory
How It Went Down
23rd minute – Kayla McKeon got the opportunity to give Arkansas the early lead when she was awarded a penalty kick after Kentucky was called for a foul in the box. McKeon was able to fool the keeper on her shot and scored her second penalty kick of the year. McKeon is now 2-for-3 on penalties this season.
23rd minute – Not much time came off the clock before the Razorbacks’ second goal. Just 19 seconds after McKeon’s score, Arkansas was able to get onto a counterattack and sent the ball up to Marissa Kinsey sprinting up the right side of the field. Kinsey sent a cross into the box, finding Emily Russell, where she headed in her first goal of the season.
54th minute – After halftime, Arkansas needed only nine minutes in the new period to make it 3-0. Abbi Neece set up the play with a good long kick into the box. Malham one-timed it back to Tori Cannata, who took the shot from roughly 15 yards away. The Kentucky keeper made an attempt at the ball, but never had a chance as Cannata scored for the third time in three matches.
71st minute – Arkansas’ final tally came with 19 minutes left in the game as sophomore Brooke Pirkle caused a turnover near midfield and found Stefani Doyle on the far side of the field for the counter. With open space down the middle, Pirkle was able to get the ball back from Doyle at the top of the box and fire a shot that bounced off the left post and back into the net. It was Pirkle’s first goal of the year and marked the 11th different Razorback to score at least one goal this season.
Arkansas is off until next week when it travels to face Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 18 before returning home for its final regular season match of the season at Razorback Field on Oct. 21. First kick with the Bulldogs is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
For more information on Razorback Soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.