FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas soccer team takes to the field Friday, Aug. 14 for an exhibition matchup against Oklahoma in preparation for its 2009 season. The Razorbacks will travel to Norman, Okla., and face the Sooners in a 7 p.m. match at John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex. This will be the second matchup between the two teams in four months as they faced one another during the spring exhibition season."(This matchup) is right there in the middle of the preseason schedule and you have to play through an exhibition," head coach Erin Aubry said. "You can’t stop and prepare for it like you would for a regular-season game. Of course, we want to make sure we can give a lot of individuals playing time in that live situation."The Razorbacks’ 27-player roster features a true mix of veterans and newcomers with 14 upperclassmen and 13 freshmen and sophomores. Arkansas will be guided by its class of seniors of Kat Moffett, Kathleen Paulsen, Kim Schleif and Sophie Wentz. The team also has nine newcomers and four players that redshirted last season.In addition to customary fitness drills, the Razorbacks have spent the past week, since reporting to campus Aug. 4, working to build team chemistry, bringing the new talent into the fold and organizing their defensive backline which lost three of its four starters from 2008 to graduation.
"We need to adjust to the physical level of play quickly," Aubry said. "When we step on the field, it shouldn’t take us 45 minutes to learn to deal with someone who is putting two hands in your back or going in hard on a tackle.
"Our fitness level will be an element we expect to see progress. By the end of the exhibition, we also want to have a great idea of our defensive organization. We want to know how certain players will play with each other, how they will adjust to attacks and how they organize to solve problems."
Live stats will be available for the preseason contest at either SoonerSports.com, or the online home for Razorback athletics, ArkansasRazorbacks.com. The exhibition matchup with Oklahoma will serve as the one-week countdown until Arkansas begins the 2009 campaign with its Aug. 21 season opener at Michigan.