KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Arkansas soccer team couldn’t find the back of the net and were blanked by Tennessee, 2-0, Sunday afternoon at Regal Soccer Stadium. The Lady Volunteers got second-half goals from Devon Swaim and Kylee Rossi in the victory. Arkansas (9-3, 2-2) has now lost two in a row for the first time this season and were shutout for just the second time this season.
“I thought that Tennessee did a good job of taking the game to us,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I thought their passing was crisp and precise and I thought we looked a bit fatigued and tired today. Our turnover rate from unforced errors was way too high and that caused us to continually chase the game which makes you more tired. You have to give credit to our opponents because they were simply the better team today.”
The Razorbacks spent the first half chasing the Lady Volunteer attack that clicked at the beginning of the game. During the first 45 minutes of play, Arkansas was held without a shot while Tennessee fired off 10 shots, three of which were on goal.
Sophomore goalkeeper Britni Williams finished the half with three saves to keep the opposition off the scoreboard. Her final save of the half came with less than five seconds remaining on the clock. Tennessee’s Emily Dowd got off a clear shot from inside the 18-yard box but Williams was able to grab the ball and clutch the ball to her chest as the buzzer sounded.
Just over three minutes into the second half, the Lady Volunteers tallied the game’s first goal when Rossi found Swaim breaking to the six-yard mark. Rossi worked around a Razorback defender on the endline and knocked a pass back to Swaim who scored from point-blank range.
Tennessee (5-7, 2-2) notched its second score on a 10-yard goal by Rossi at the 61:30 mark. It was the sixth straight game in which the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year has scored a goal.
Despite being outshot, 20-6, the Razorbacks made the most of their opportunities with four shots on goal. Arkansas’ best chance came late in the second half when Abbey Wilburn found Kailey Anders streaking up the left side of the field. Anders had a one-on-one opportunity but couldn’t get enough on the ball rolling away from her and Tennessee keeper Jaimel Johnson made the save. Johnson finished the game with four saves.
“I do have to credit our team,” Henderson said. “Despite chasing the game for most of the time, I thought their fighting spirit was absolutely fantastic. That never-say-die attitude will serve us well the rest of the season.”
The rest of the season continues Oct. 10 when Arkansas returns home for its first SEC contest of the season as it hosts Alabama. The Tennessee game ends a tough stretch for the Razorbacks where they played just twice at home in the past month and a half.
“We’ve now been on the road for four of the past five weeks and four straight SEC games,” Henderson said. “We are looking forward to having our next four games at home, sleeping in our own beds and being able to refresh and regenerate.
“We look to play some of our best soccer of the year against four quality opponents. In addition, it will give us an opportunity to recover two or three players that are injured right now. Obviously not having Kelly O’Connor today made a difference on our front line, but after a week’s rest, she should be ready to go for our next game.”
Along with Alabama, the Razorbacks will host Auburn next weekend in Fayetteville. It will be the first of two consecutive home weekends for Arkansas. The Oct. 10 game against Alabama will be televised by FSN. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more details and continued coverage of Razorback soccer.