FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ soccer team hits the stretch run of its regular season with a pair of Southeastern Conference road games this week, beginning with Friday’s 6:30 p.m. contest at No. 16 Missouri.
Arkansas plays at Mississippi State on Sunday at 3 p.m. in a game being televised by ESPNU.
Missouri is the sixth ranked opponent of the season for the Razorbacks. Arkansas is coming off Friday’s 3-1 loss to No. 9 Texas A&M and Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Auburn in the final two home games of the year.
"We took a lot of confidence out of the Texas A&M game," head coach Colby Hale says. "They are the No. 9 team in the country for a reason. We did a lot of good things and played well. The Auburn game was big. We dodged a bullet or two in the first 10 minutes (against Auburn), but we weathered that storm. Kelly (Roliard) made a couple of nice saves and we just kept fighting. Sam Wolf scored on a great header and that embodies who we are. It was a complete team effort and we’re proud of them."
Arkansas is 7-8-1 overall and 4-5-1 in the SEC, including 4-3-1 over the last four weeks with 12 goals scored. Missouri is 13-3-0 overall and 8-2-0 in the SEC.
The Tigers lead the conference in shots (327), are third in goals allowed (12) and goals against average (0.75), and fifth in goals (32) and points (86).
"They are very good," Hale says. "They are extremely athletic and can play in a couple of different ways. They approach each game differently and it’s a huge test for us. Our players enjoy playing the ranked teams. That’s one of the reasons you come here – to play against the best and Missouri is definitely one of the best."
Arkansas recorded its first win ever over a ranked team earlier this year with the 3-2 win over No. 18 Kentucky. In addition, the Razorbacks won at Tennessee, 1-0, and UT was No. 18 in the RPI ratings.
Arkansas has 17 goals and 15 assists, already more than last year’s totals for the year, 11 and seven, respectively.
Nine different Razorbacks have scored goals while 12 have assists. Senior Allie Chandler leads the club with four goals and is tied for third in SEC play with two game-winners. Lindsey Mayo and Jeriann Okoro have three goals each, and Ashleigh Ellenwood two. Allie Tripp leads the team with three assists, which ranks 10th in the conference in SEC play, while Tyler Allen has two assists.
"We have 16 players who have scored a point this year and 24 who have started at least one game," Hale says. "We’re not a team with a few stars, and you shut them down and you’ll stop what we’re doing. Who we are is established. We work extremely hard and we’re proud of that. We fight and fight, and see what the result is at the end."
Missouri leads the series 2-1 with a 1-1 record in Columbia. The last time the teams met, in 2010, the Tigers recorded a 4-0 victory in Columbia.
Following the games this week, Arkansas closes its regular season at LSU next week.