ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – Sophomore Erika Miller’s equalizer in the 89th minute sparked hope for the No. 9-seeded Arkansas women’s soccer team in the first round of SEC Tournament, but things would change for the Razorbacks in penalty kicks, as No. 8 seed Georgia netted four attempts to Arkansas’ three, knocking the Razorbacks out of the tournament.
The loss drops Arkansas’ record to 8-6-6 on the year while UGA improves to 10-6-2 overall.
With Georgia clinging to a 1-0 lead late in the second half, Arkansas was looking for any chance at an equalizer. With the defense pushed up, the Razorbacks sent a cross into the box that was deflected out by the Bulldogs, landing in open space outside of the 18-yard box. Miller came charging towards the ball and blasted a shot from roughly 25 yards out only to find upper right hand corner of the goal to send the game into extra time.
Miller was an unlikely hero for the Razorbacks, as the defender had previously recorded just one goal in her two-year career coming into tonight. That goal came in a 6-1 blowout win over Missouri State earlier this season (Sept. 14).
Neither team had a solid opportunity at a goal in either overtime period, as the game moved into penalty kicks. It was the second time in head coach Colby Hale’s tenure at Arkansas that his team has moved into the PK stage, previously losing to Duke in the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Coach Hale’s second go-around in this stage would unfortunately yield the same result, as Georgia brought in redshirt freshman goalkeeper Morgan Orobello, who was making her first collegiate appearance, off the bench to handle the PK’s. Orobello made an instant impact, blocking a two of the first three Razorback attempts, as the Bulldogs made all but one of their penalty kicks to win the shootout 4-3 and advance to play No. 1 seed Texas A&M on Wednesday night (5 p.m. CT).
Georgia held a slight edge in shots 15-14, including a 5-4 edge in shots on goal.
Arkansas will now have to wait and see if they will play another during the 2014 season, as the NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Nov. 10.
For more information on Arkansas women’s soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.
- Arkansas’ record in the Colby Hale era is 32-25-6.
- Arkansas participated in its third straight SEC Tournament, which marks the first time in school history that the Razorbacks have qualified for three straight SEC Tournaments.
- The Razorbacks are 5-10 all-time in the SEC Tournament.
- Under Hale, Arkansas is 1-3 in four SEC Tournament games.
- Arkansas went 1-1 in last year’s tournament, defeating No. 9 seed Missouri, 4-0, in the first round before losing to top-seeded Florida, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
- This season marked the second straight year Arkansas played in the 8/9 first round matchup. They defeated No. 9 seed Missouri, 4-0, last season.
- Erika Miller’s goal tonight was the second of her career.
COACH HALE POSTGAME SOUND
On falling to eighth‐seeded Georgia in penalty kicks on Monday
“It was a good match. There were some chances both ways. They’ve got some good players, but we liked our game plan; I thought we executed it very well. We had chances to win, so we’re pleased with the effort. You’re never pleased with the tie, you want to win. I thought we played to win, but at the same time, I’m proud of the effort.”
On overcoming a 1‐0 deficit with a goal in the 89th minute to send the match into overtime
“This team just doesn’t panic. They’ve been in this situation. I think we’ve played 19 overtime games in
the last two years. It’s quite a tough team. They keep fighting and grinding, and I’m just super proud of them.”
On the Arkansas senior class
“What a special class. Honestly, I came in and this is my third year. Before that, they hadn’t been to an NCAA Tournament and hadn’t been to the SEC Soccer Tournament in 14 years. This is our third straight years. They’ve helped us elevate the expectations and the standards for what we expect and we’re going to miss them. Our RPI’s going to be 40, so we’re going to have a chance to be an NCAA Tournament team. It will be a bit nervy of a week, but we like our chances and we think we did enough to get in.”