FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas soccer team left little to chance Sunday as it defeated Nicholls St., 7-0, at Razorback Field. Three first-half goals and a pressuring defense gave Arkansas (7-1) the early advantage in the finale of the Razorback Invitational and the team’s non-conference schedule. The win gives the Razorbacks a six-game win streak heading into SEC play.
“We set our goal that we wanted to finish non-conference with a 7-1 record,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We achieved that. We set a goal that we wanted to keep a clean sheet today and we did that. I think there were some segments of play that were very good and other segments that weren’t quite as polished as we’ve seen.”
The offensive barrage began with two goals by Kat Moffett, her first scores of the season. At the 13:26 mark, Moffett was on the receiving end of a pass from Kathleen Paulsen that split the Nicholls’ defense.
“On the first goal, I just finished a through ball from (Paulsen),” Moffett said. “We made eye contact and I don’t think I even called for it, but she played it through and I was able to get a touch on it.”
The junior forward added a second goal in the 35th minute. The play was set up by Kim Schleif who dribbled the ball into the box from the left and sent a ball across to Beth McVean. With one touch, McVean put the ball on goal and Moffett, breaking down the middle of the box, finished the sequence with a tap past the Colonels’ keeper, Sarah Damen.
“Kat has played well the past three or four games,” Henderson said. “She has set up other players and done all the hard work. She’s worked incredibly hard doing the dirty work but hadn’t gotten the rewards until today, so I was happy for her.”
Lindsay Patterson continued her strong play since returning to the lineup with her second two-goal performance in as many games. Her first came off a Rachel Carlson corner kick as Nicholls St. was unable to clear the ball that bounced through the box to Patterson. The assist was the first of three for Carlson who is now tied for the team lead in the category.
Patterson tallied her second goal of the game in the 57th minute. Sandwiched in between the two Patterson scores was a goal by sophomore transfer Brittany Allen. She took a pass from Carlson eight yards out and found the back of the net at the 50:03 mark for her first goal of the season.
Arkansas padded their lead with two late goals by Nikki Crocco. The freshman Razorback scored twice in 53 seconds on balls from Whiteny Allison and Carlson, respectively. The scores were the first for Crocco since her game-winning goal in the season opener at Missouri St.
With his team in control of the action, Henderson was able to call on his bench for valuable minutes. It allowed starters to rest and, as important, gave some inexperienced players extended time on the field. A season-high 24 Razorbacks played Sunday, including freshman goalkeeper Kendal Winston who played the entire second half.
“I was very happy to get all our players in the game,” Henderson said. “Those are fantastic minutes for all those players and they should take a lot out of that experience.”
While the offense may receive all the attention for its output, the Arkansas defense was up to the task, too. The Razorbacks held Nicholls St. to two shots—both saves for Winston—and, with Sunday’s shutout, have not allowed a goal in five games. Arkansas outshot its opponent, 24-2.
“It was a confidence booster for so many people to score and just have fun in the game,” Moffett said. “Now we’re just ready for (SEC play) to get started.”
Arkansas will take its winning streak to the state of Mississippi where it will open conference play next weekend against Ole Miss and Mississippi St., respectively. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for continued coverage of UA soccer.