STARKVILLE, Miss. – Arkansas scored twice in the second half, with both goals by senior Andrea Carlson, to rally for a 2-1 Southeastern Conference victory at Mississippi State on Sunday.
Carlson scored the game-winner off a rebound shot with just 1:12 remaining as Arkansas improved to 9-8-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the SEC.
The win clinches a spot in the SEC Tournament for Arkansas for the first time since 2000.
"We’re excited," head coach Colby Hale said. "We didn’t talk too much this year about season-long goals. We said if we take care of the details and work hard on a daily basis, those things will take care of themselves, but I know the girls are excited."
Haley Hatcher attempted a shot from the left wing with just more than a minute to play, but a defender blocked it. Carlson was at the edge of the six and placed her rebound shot between a defender at the post and keeper CJ Winship to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 weekend. Arkansas won at No. 16 Missouri on Friday, 2-1.
"We didn’t feel like we were the better team today," Hale said. "I felt like we got outworked, but this was a step in the right direction because we were able to win on a day when we didn’t play so well. We had not earned six points (for two wins) in a weekend yet, and that’s a huge step. We told the kids they found a way to win and we’re proud of that, but we have to put together a full 90 minutes."
Arkansas didn’t tie the game until the 63rd minute. A foul gave Arkansas a free kick just right of the 18. Taylor Green played the kick from the far side to the near side, and Carlson headed in a shot over the head of the keeper from four yards away to tie the game 1-1. A long throw in from Ashleigh Ellenwood to Green set up the foul call that led to the score.
In the 65th minute, MSU had a chance to regain the lead, but a Bulldog header off a corner went just over the bar.
For the game, Arkansas had a 19-15 lead in shots and a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
Arkansas pressed the attack early with the first pair of shots and a shot on goal by Yvonne DesJarlais. Much of the first half was spent on MSU’s end of the field, but the Bulldogs got the first score.
Mississippi State scored in the 16th minute off a throw in from the far side even with the 18. Shelby Jordan’s throw bounced inside the 18 and Elisabeth Sullivan drew keeper Kelly Roliard out to score into the left side of the net off her right foot from eight yards away. Sullivan’s goal was her 10th of the season.
Minutes after the score, Sam Wolf responded with a shot on goal for the Razorbacks.
With 19:20 left in the period, a foul gave Arkansas a free kick about 40 yards out. Allie Tripp sent it into the 18, but MSU was able to clear it.
In the 28th minute, Allie Chandler dribbled around two defenders and passed to her right to Ellenwood in the center of the field. Ellenwood took a shot from 25 yards out, but Winship made a save on the grounder.
With 12:30 to go, Tripp had another free kick 40 yards away, but MSU cleared before Ellenwood could make a play on it inside the 18.
Inside the 10-minute mark, MSU had a free kick from 35 yards out, but Tripp cleared it out of the box.
Late in the first half, Chandler and Okoro both had scoring chances. Chandler made a move to get open, but her shot from just outside the box was wide left. A minute later, Okoro got inside the box, beat her defender and drew the keeper out, but her shot from the right corner of the six was just wide of the left post.
For the period, Arkansas dominated with a 10-4 lead in shots and had a 4-2 lead in shots on goal.
Arkansas closes the regular season on Thursday with a 7 p.m. game against LSU in Baton Rouge.
Download: ark, msu game.pdf