FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas soccer team continued its spring season with a 1-1 tie against the University of Memphis on a hot Sunday afternoon at Bryant High School in Bryant, Ark. The Razorbacks got a goal from Ashleigh Ellenwood midway through the second half to tie the game and played stalwart defense in the closing moments to preserve the tie.
“The second half was better than the first,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “The kids fought through some stuff. Memphis keeps possession very well, so we adjusted some things and I thought the women responded well. We pride ourselves in our work and today was no different than every other day with these ladies. We have a lot of work to do, but the mentality of this team is pretty remarkable.”
Memphis scored the first goal of the contest just nine minutes into the game when a pass to the right side of the Arkansas defense was able to get outside and behind the back four, creating a one-on-one opportunity. The Memphis player was able to take two touches and send a shot over a diving Arkansas goalkeeper, and just under the crossbar, to give the Tigers the early lead.
The remainder of the first half did not see any more scores although both teams had their opportunities. The Razorbacks in particular did a good job of keeping Memphis well outside the scoring zone and had a pair of stellar opportunities. In the 24th minute, sophomore Jeriann Okoro was the recipient of a long pass from the midfield and was on the verge of a one-on-one of her own with the Memphis keeper, but a valiant effort by the Tiger’s center defender, Diamond Simpson, was able to force a corner kick which went well defended.
In the closing moments of the first, the Razorbacks had another chance when they got a throw in deep in Memphis territory. Ellenwood took the throw which she placed inside the penalty box, but after several missed attempts on both sides, the Memphis keeper was able to corral the ball and keep the Tigers ahead.
The Razorbacks came out of the locker room and took the fight to Memphis early in the second half, creating a great scoring chance. Another Arkansas throw in went into the penalty area and after a weak attempt to clear the ball, Tyler Allen was able to hit the ball on a volley, but a nice save by Memphis kept the score tied.
Minutes later, the Razorbacks were at it again, this time created by a free kick 40 yards from goal. The restart went down the right side to an open Allen who sent a cross into the box. After bouncing off several players, Ellenwood was able to get a solid crack at the bouncing ball and found the short side of the net for the Razorback equalizer.
Memphis rallied following the Arkansas goal, creating a pair of opportunities on a corner kick and build up from the back. Arkansas’ defense was able to organize and minimize the Memphis scoring chance on the corner and good backtracking by the Razorback defenders forced another shot wide of the net.
Arkansas was again on the attack later in the contest which led to a yellow card to Memphis and a direct free kick from 25-yards in front of goal. Ellenwood took the opportunity, but her attempt at the upper right 90 was snatched out of the air by the Memphis keeper.
The back-and-forth second half continued as Memphis again got behind the Razorback defense with a pass to the outside. This time, the Razorbacks’ Kelly Roliard was ready and she was able to snare the hard shot for her second, and most difficult, of six saves on the day.
The Razorbacks complete their spring schedule on Saturday, April 27, when they travel to the University of Kansas for a pair of games against UMKC and the Jayhawks.