FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.- The Razorbacks were unable to respond to a fierce offensive attack from No. 1 Penn State Friday night at Razorback Field, falling 4-2 in front of a record crowd of 3,401 fans.
Freshman Taylor Malham scored her second goal in as many weekends, while sophomore Stefani Doyle added her first goal of the season. However, Penn State proved why it was considered one of the top teams in the nation by having an answer for each goal that Arkansas scored.
Freshman goalkeeper Rachel Harris got her second start of the season in the net and made four saves, setting a season-high. Doyle led all Razorbacks on offense with four shots, two on goal, including her one score.
“You’re definitely not going to draw major conclusions from this,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “It’s the number one team in the country. We have to figure out who we are right now. We didn’t feel like we were all on the same page. Those are things that are fixable.”
Arkansas (1-2-0) began the game quickly with a goal in the second minute by sophomore Stefani Doyle, her first of the season. Doyle scored on a one-timer that she received off a cross from Parker Goins and was able to sneak it past the keeper at near point blank range.
Her goal gave the Razorbacks a quick 1-0 lead, but the Nittany Lions (3-0-0) responded with a pair of goals by Charlotte Williams and Marrissa Shiva just 10 minutes later to retake the lead at 2-1.
Both teams were nearly even in possession time in the first half. Penn State edged out Arkansas in shots (6-4) in what was a fast paced first 45 minutes.
Coming out in the second half, the Razorbacks scored with incredible pace, once again, this time with a goal from Taylor Malham in the 46th minute to tie the match at 2-2. Goins created the scoring play for the second time as she found Malham racing into the left side of the box. Malham was able to send a right-footed shot into the upper 90 past the diving Penn State goalkeeper.
Unfortunately, that was the last goal Arkansas was able to make as Penn State’s offensive power showed in the latter part of the second half. Shiva, who scored her first goal of the night just before the break, came up big again to give Penn State the lead in the 55th minute with her second score to put her team up 3-2.
The Nittany Lions added an insurance goal in the 71st minute off a header from Kaleigh Riehl to finish the scoring for the night.
Both the Razorbacks and the Nittany Lions seemed to have equal chances in the first half, but Arkansas was unable to contain Penn State’s attack after halftime as it was held to just three shots in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Arkansas looks to bounce back when it returns to Razorback Field Sunday afternoon against Abilene Christian Wildcats Sunday at 1 p.m. The game can be seen on the SECNetwork+ and the WatchESPN App.
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