FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas scored twice in the first half and got three goals by three different players to post a 3-1 Southeastern Conference soccer victory over Alabama at Razorback Field on Sunday.
Arkansas led the entire way in improving to 6-7-1 overall and 3-4-1 in the SEC. Alabama is 7-5-2 and 2-4-2. The win is Arkansas’ first over Alabama since 2006.
"I thought the girls did a great job preparing for the game," head coach Colby Hale said. "Alabama is very good. We liked our game plan and the girls executed it well. It’s a great win and we’re very proud, and we certainly take confidence from it, but there are things we need to get better at and we’ll work on them this week."
After leading 2-0 at the break, Alabama closed within 2-1 on a penalty kick at 62:15, but Arkansas put the game away on Jeriann Okoro’s score at 85:23.
Arkansas was called for a foul in the 63rd minute at the top of the 18. Merel Van Dongen took the penalty kick for the Crimson Tide and scored to cut the margin in half.
In the 86th minute, Okoro got the ball outside the top left corner of the 18, dribbled in and lofted an arching shot over a defender and above the outstretched hands of keeper Emily Rusk in the right corner of the net.
Rusk played the second half in goal for Alabama and made four saves with the one goal allowed. Shelby Church started and made one save and allowed two scores.
Both teams had 13 shots for the game, but Arkansas had an 8-5 lead in shots on goal.
"Our confidence is increasing, and we’re creating chances and scoring goals, but we just want to continue getting better," Hale said.
The Razorbacks are 3-2-1 the last three weeks, all in SEC play, with 10 goals scored.
In the first half, the first shot didn’t come until the 12th minute, a 25-yarder by Alabama that rolled wide left. After that, Arkansas heated up.
In the 17th minute, a pass down the right sideline intended for Evan Palmer was run down by a pair of Alabama defenders. Instead of knocking the ball out for an Arkansas throw in, the defender played the ball back to the center of the field where Andrea Carlson intercepted and beat her defender for a one-on-one with the keeper. Carlson dribbled inside the box and scored into the left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead at 16:55.
"We have a lot of people who can score and it was my time today," Carlson said. "We needed this win to get closer to the SEC Tournament and to help us gain more confidence."
Alabama recorded its first shot on goal in the 25th minute. Theresa Diederich shot from the top of the 18, but Kelly Roliard slid to her left for the save. Roliard finished with four saves and got the win.
In the 40th minute, a Crimson Tide foul gave Arkansas the ball about 40 yards out. Kaylyn Cooper played the free kick into the top half of the 18. The teams battled for possession before Allie Chandler controlled it and scored from 12 yards out for a 2-0 lead at 40:06.
Arkansas was close on a couple of other possessions, but shots from inside the box by Ashleigh Ellenwood and Allie Tripp were blocked by Alabama before they got to the goal.
For the period, Arkansas had six shots with three on goal. Alabama had four with just one on goal.
Arkansas plays its final two regular-season home games next weekend, hosting Texas A&M on Friday at 7 p.m. and Auburn on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Razorback Field.
Download: Ark, alabama box.pdf