FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With just over a week of practices in the books, Arkansas can finally face some competition outside of itself when it plays Omaha in an exhibition contest Thursday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Razorback Field and admission is free.
There has been a lot of anticipation around the Razorback locker room since their 2016 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Clemson.
This year, the team is returning the core portion of its roster, 12 starters to be exact along with eight goal scorers, in hopes of not only returning to the NCAA Tournament, but continuing the upward trend of success the program has had over the last five seasons.
Just A Friendly Match
Arkansas will use Thursday’s matchup against the Mavericks as a way to gauge their conditioning as well as find out which units work best with each other before the season opener at SMU next week.
The Razorbacks have never faced Omaha, officially, in their history, but have come out winners in two of their last three exhibition matches dating back to the 2015 season with wins over Kansas State and Oral Roberts.
Razorbacks Ranked 17th In First National Preseason Poll
In the first national soccer poll released this preseason, Arkansas found itself ranked No. 17 in the nation according to the United Soccer Coaches (USC) poll, two spots higher than where it finished the 2016 season.
Three teams that are ranked in the USC preseason poll will face the Razorbacks this year, two coming from the SEC. No. 14 UConn will be Arkansas’ first test against ranked opposition when it travels to Storrs, Connecticut for the first-ever matchup between the two programs on Sept. 7
In conference play, one of Arkansas’ biggest weekends will be when it travels to face No. 10 Auburn (Oct. 5) before returning home to take on No. 4 South Carolina (Oct. 8) at Razorback Field. South Carolina and Auburn were the only two teams to finish ahead of the Hogs in the SEC standings last year.
Arkansas Hoping To Build Off Record-Breaking Season
There’s no doubt that 2016 was a year for the record books for Razorback Soccer. Arkansas won 18 games last season, a program record, reached the SEC Tournament championship for the first time since 1996, and hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Not to mention, it defeated No. 2 Duke and No. 4 Florida, both at home, for some of its best wins in school history. In both of those matches, Arkansas utilized a strong defensive presence to limit the opposition to one goal each, while also getting some clutch finishes from some players that will be key components of this year’s squad.
Arkansas finished second in the conference in scoring offense last season, scoring 51 times in 24 matches at a 2.13 goals per game clip. As for its defense, the seven shutouts it posted was its most in the last three years.
Season tickets are now on sale for $25. Each season ticket order will come with one 2017 Razorback Soccer scarf. Single-game tickets can be purchased for $5 at the Razorback Field box office, which opens one hour before kickoff on game days. Current students can be admitted with their UA ID, and children 17 and under are admitted free.
For more information on Razorback Soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.