FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas begins its Southeastern Conference soccer season this week when the Razorbacks hit the road for Friday’s 6 p.m. contest at Tennessee and Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. game at No. 21 Georgia.
Arkansas completed its non-conference schedule last week at No. 11 Florida State and enters league play with a 3-4-1 record. The Razorbacks took the Seminoles to overtime before falling, 1-0. On Friday, Arkansas played Saint Mary’s to a 0-0 double-overtime tie. SMC was 6-1 entering the game.
"We had a great weekend," head coach Erin Aubry says. "We had an awesome week of practice. Saint Mary’s isn’t a team that comes to mind when you think about powerhouses, but the week before, they beat the No. 32 team in the country and they took SMU to overtime on Sunday. I’m so proud of our performance at Florida State. In talking to the team before the overtime, I could see the look of pride in what they had done. Now we need to go for the kill."
Counting the two games this week, the Razorbacks will be playing on the road for the eighth time in nine games. Arkansas has also played three consecutive overtime games, at Florida State, the Saint Mary’s game on Friday and the 2-1 victory at Missouri State on Sept. 12.
Tennessee was 8-9-3 a year ago and is 3-5 this season with losses to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 14 Maryland and No. 25 Arizona State. UT, which is coming off an 8-0 home win over Chattanooga, won in Fayetteville last year, 1-0. Arkansas is 1-9-1 all-time against the Volunteers with the one win in Knoxville in 1996, 1-0.
Georgia was 15-6-1 last season and is 5-2-1 this year with a loss to No. 2 Stanford and a 1-1 tie with No. 9 Santa Clara. Arkansas is 2-8-2 all-time against the Bulldogs. Georgia won at Razorback Field last season, 2-0.
"We couldn’t get a better game to prepare us for the SEC than Florida State," Aubry says. "Both Tennessee and Georgia are great teams. Tennessee will be pumped for their first SEC game. Both have played very difficult non-conference schedules."
Arkansas is 6-9-1 all-time in SEC openers.
Georgia and Tennessee are the top two scoring teams in the league, averaging 2.62 and 2.38 goals per game, respectively, while Arkansas is tied for second with 44 saves.
"(Goalkeeper) Britni Williams is at the top of her game right now," Aubry says. "She had been lacking confidence and was inconsistent, but this past weekend, there was no question that she owned her box."
Aubry’s starting lineup for the FSU game included Allie Chandler and Laurel Pastor at forward; Rachel Carlson, Jessie Givens, Camille Flores and Bethany Labac at midfielder; Melanie Foncham, Beth McVean, Kailey Anders and Jenn Fryrear at defender; and Williams at goalkeeper.