CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Kelly O’Connor found the back of the Austin Peay goal at the 19:44 mark to give Arkansas (4-1) an early lead. The Razorbacks held on to the advantage and came away with a 1-0 win at Morgan Bros. Soccer Field in Clarksville, Tenn.
On the goal, which turned out to be the game winner, senior Abbey Wilburn booted a free kick into the Austin Peay box. O’Connor took the ball off the bounce, gained control and poked it past Lady Govs’ goalkeeper Carley Newman. The score was O’Connor’s fourth of the season and Wilburn is now tied for the team lead with two assists.
“A win is a win,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “It was similar contest for us as was the Tulsa game. At the beginning, we opened them with ease and moved the ball well. We had a lot of success penetrating the backline. We went up 1-0 and for the rest of the first half, we failed to cap on the opportunities we had which gave our opponents confidence that they were still in the game.”
O’Connor had another scoring chance in the first half as she broke behind the Austin Peay backline, but her shot rang off the crossbar at the 26:08 mark. In the first half, the Razorbacks were the aggressors and outshot their opponent, 8-1, but went into halftime with just the one-goal lead.
“All credit to Austin Peay,” Henderson said. “They threw a high restraining line at us which we failed to problem solve. Anytime you have 10 offside calls in a game and miss four or five one on ones with the keeper, I think our frontline and outside mids will reflect and assess they should have done a better job in problem solving that wrinkle of the game.”
The second half followed a similar pattern as neither team was able to build much momentum in its favor. Still trying to get behind the Austin Peay backline that was playing up, Arkansas totaled 10 offside calls in the game. Junior Kathleen Paulsen played the role of the playmaker trying to set up her teammates.
“I thought (Paulsen) was terrific for us in the middle of the field,” Henderson said. “It was also good to see Lindsay Patterson back on the field for her first minutes of the season. She is a player that will be invaluable for us as we move forward in SEC play."
Arkansas dodged an Austin Peay opportunity early in the second half. The Lady Govs’ Hannah Jones was streaking into the box before a foul was called on Lauren Hallauer which resulted in a penalty kick. Jones lined up for the shot against Arkansas keeper Britni Williams, but missed high, sailing the ball a few feet over the crossbar.
The second half saw just five shots between the two teams. Williams made saves on both of the shots on goal she faced in the half to preserve the shutout and record her fourth shutout of the season—10th of her career.
“In the team’s defense, there was an awful lot of confusion on our part which resulted inus being scaredto tackle,” Henderson said. “We had three yellow cards and if you have a look at that, you’d think it was dirty game and it was anything but. I pulled all three players off—O’Connor, Wentz and Moffett—to protect them from being sent off. Again, the learning curve has to be that the ref was calling a particular style and we did not do a good job of adjusting to that.”
With its next game against Stephen F. Austin called off due to the forecast of severe weather stemming from Hurricane Ike, Arkansas will return to Fayetteville for its next match. The team will host the Razorback Invitational and face Western Michigan on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Razorback Field.