FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas soccer team will open its 2008 season Friday on the road at Missouri State. The game, the season opener for both teams, is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at the Plaster Sports Complex in Springfield, Mo. This will be the 10th meeting between the two programs.
Arkansas holds a 7-2-0 advantage in the previous nine contests with Missouri State, including last year’s double-overtime victory, 1-0, in Fayetteville at Razorback Field. The Bears have won two of the three games played on their home field. Arkansas’ only victory at Missouri State was a 7-1 victory in 1987. The previous two games in Springfield, played in 1999 and 2006, were decided in overtime.
In last season’s matchup, Arkansas and Missouri State battled to a scoreless stalemate through regulation and the first overtime. In the 102nd minute, Lindsay Patterson put a 20-yard strike past Bears’ goalkeeper Jackie Jasper to give Arkansas the 1-0 decision. Britni Williams stopped all five shots she faced to preserve the shutout.
The Razorbacks return 10 starters from last year’s team, including Patterson, who earned second-team All-SEC honors, and Williams, who tied the school’s single-season record with a 0.91 goals against average during her freshman campaign. She also set or tied six freshman records—games started, minutes played, wins, shots faced, goals against average and shutout—during her first year in Fayetteville.
Sophomore midfielder Kelly O’Connor returns to the Razorback lineup after missing the final eight games of the 2007 season with a knee injury. Despite the absence, she finished the year as Arkansas’ leading scorer with 15 points on six goals and three assists. She had the assist on Patterson’s game-winning goal last season against Missouri State.
In the preseason SEC ranking, Arkansas is picked in a tie for fourth place in the Western Division by the league’s head coaches. The team finished last in the division in 2007 with a 1-9-1 conference record.
With only three players lost from last season’s roster, Arkansas returns 19 letterwinners that tallied 70 of the Razorbacks’ 74 points totaled last season, which includes 25 of 26 goals scored.
Missouri State finished last season with a 6-11-2 record and welcomes back nine starters, including Jasper who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Midfielder Allison Osmundson joined Jasper as a first-team All-MVC performer. The Bears also had three players—Cristine Cross, Jordan Reppell and Shannon Russell—named to the league’s all-freshman team and one, Samantha Aguilar, to receive honorable mention recognition.
Live stats for Arkansas’ season opener against Missouri State will be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com once play begins. The Razorbacks’ home opener is set for Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. against Tulsa at Razorback Field.