STARKVILLE, Miss. – Beth McVean scored at the 15:47 mark and that’s all the Razorback soccer team needed as it beat Mississippi St., 1-0, on Sunday in the second SEC game of the season. Arkansas held its seventh consecutive opponent without a goal, outscoring the opposition, 19-0, in that stretch. With the triumph, the Razorbacks (9-1, 2-0) push their winning streak to a program-best eight games.
“I honestly think I may be more satisfied with this win than the one Friday night,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “Not only for the first time in program history are we 2-0 in conference play, but I think more importantly, we gave a very gutsy performance.”
In the game’s 16th minute, Kat Moffett broke into the box and fired a shot toward the goal and Bulldog goalkeeper Taryn Holland. Diving to her left, Holland knocked the ball away but on the rebound, McVean was there for Arkansas to put the ball into the back of the net for her third score of the season. Moffett was credited with her first assist of the year.
“Once we scored the opening goal, I think the squad, as a whole, felt quite comfortable, as they have all season long, that we could maintain the lead,” Henderson said. “All credit goes to Mississippi St. They never gave up for one second and gave us problems at midfield. Quite simply, our players did not have energy to respond to some of that.
“Since the Ole Miss game, the team has been rife with a stomach virus which has seen us take a trip to the ER and I’ve lost count of how many have been sick in the past couple days. Some of those players didn’t see any time today, while some saw limited time. And remarkably, some of those players played all 90 minutes.”
As it has all season, the Razorback defense was strong against the Mississippi St. attack. Coming into the weekend, the Bulldogs were third in the SEC with 19 goals, but Arkansas held them to just three shots on goals—all saves by Britni Williams.
Williams and the Razorbacks have not allowed a goal since the second half against Oral Roberts in the team’s third game of the season.
“Our team defense was very good,” Henderson said. “I honestly, can’t remember the last save Britni Williams had to make in earnest. I think the closest they came to scoring was a deflected header off our own player. Coach (Neil) Macdonald is doing a fantastic job with the program down there and we are pleased to get out of Starkville with the win.”
Looking to be the aggressor, Arkansas outshot its opponent, 8-4, in the second half and 14-10 overall. The Razorbacks got off eight shots on goals, five of those in the second 45 minutes of play. The aggressive style also resulted in four offside calls, all coming in the second half.
“There’s no question we did not play our most attractive passing game today,” Henderson said. “But given the circumstance this team was under, this win is remarkable. I couldn’t be more proud of the way we showed mental fortitude when it really counted.”
The Razorbacks have won six straight against Mississippi St. (5-6, 0-2) and hold a 12-2-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two programs. With its 9-1 mark, Arkansas is off to its best start in program history.
Arkansas will continue its stretch of road games when it returns to action next weekend with games at Georgia and Tennessee. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for continued coverage of Razorback soccer.