FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas closes out its longest stretch of consecutive road games in 13 years this week with contests at Missouri on Friday and Missouri State on Sunday.
The Razorbacks play at Missouri at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and at MSU at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Arkansas is 2-2 after a split last week in Fort Myers, Fla. Playing in the Embassy Suites Kick-Off Classic, Arkansas picked up a big win over Miami on Friday, 1-0, but fell to host Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday, 1-0.
Counting the two opponents this week, five of Arkansas’ first six opponents are coming off winning records in 2009. Florida International was 11-6-3 a year ago, Stephen F. Austin 10-8-2, Miami 8-10-1, FGCU 11-5-3, Missouri 13-6-3 and Missouri State 9-6-3.
Friday’s game could be one of the toughest. Missouri is the defending Big 12 champion after going 7-1-2 in league play last season.
"Our schedule doesn’t get any easier," head coach Erin Aubry says. "Missouri has a very good program. They won the Big 12 last year. Missouri State is having a good season so far. They have a lot of players from the St. Louis area. We need to focus a little less on our opponent and more on our consistency and mentality to get us to be a little more stable."
Arkansas and Missouri have met just twice with each team winning once. The Razorbacks won in Columbia in 1997, 3-1, while Missouri won in Fayetteville in 1996, 2-1 in overtime.
The win on the road in 1997 was the only victory the last time Arkansas played more the five straight games on the road. That squad played six consecutive matches on the road, going 1-4-1 with a tie at Kansas, and losses to Oklahoma State, Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky.
This week’s trip closes a stretch including travel dates at Stephen F. Austin, against Miami in Fort Myers, at FGCU, at Missouri and at MSU.
In the FGCU match, Aubry went with a starting lineup of Allie Chandler and Erin Moskos at forward; Rachel Carlson, Jessie Givens, Beth McVean and Kelsey Allison at midfielder; Laurel Pastor, Jenn Fryrear, Melanie Foncham and Kailey Anders at defender; and Britni Williams at goalkeeper.
In the victory over Miami, Moskos scored the first goal of her career and Williams tied the school record with her 28th career victory.
"We played the best soccer we’ve played since I’ve been here," Aubry says of the Miami game. "All that talent and knowledge were there a week before, but that was our mentality showing. Unfortunately, we saw the flip side of it on Sunday. We’re still working at making that consistent. I think it is evident to the players and leaders what it takes on a daily basis."
Following the trip to Missouri, Arkansas is back home on Sept. 17, playing host to St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. before going on the road for three straight. The Razorbacks are at Florida State on Sept. 19, at Tennessee on Sept. 24 and at Georgia on Sept. 26.