FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After trailing at the half, the University of Arkansas soccer team netted four goals in the second half Friday to secure a 4-2 victory over Air Force in its 2009 home opener. Sophie Wentz posted the first two-goal effort of her Razorback career and Lauren Hallauer and Kim Schleif tacked on a goal each in the win. Arkansas is 2-0 for the first time since the 1992 season. The match was the finale on day one of the Razorback Adidas Classic.
"I’m really excited with how our team played," head coach Erin Aubry said. "I was a little disappointed in our organization when (Air Force) scored its two goals. Our organization still needs work, but it says a lot about our team’s mentality. To be down a goal, then come right back and score two quick goals to take the lead was amazing."
The Falcons (0-2-1) scored the game’s first goal when Kelsey Yip found the back of the net on an 18-yard free kick at the 18:58 mark. Set up out front and to the left of Arkansas goalkeeper Britni Williams, Yip lined a shot past a wall of Razorbacks for her first goal of the year.
Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Razorbacks had plenty of chances to score in the opening half of play. Beth McVean had a shot ring off the crossbar at the 24:35 mark of the first half and Tara Zika had a point-blank shot knocked away by Air Force keeper Chartiy Blanton with 5:32 to play until halftime. Arkansas outshot its opponent, 15-3, and totaled six corner shots on the night.
Wentz evened the score at the 47:36 mark with her first goal of the season. On the receiving end of an Ally Atkins pass, Wentz knocked the ball from an angle to the far post past Blanton. The tie didn’t last long, however, as Kelly Bieber responded with a goal less than three minutes later to give Air Force the lead once again. The Falcons scored on their first two shots of the game.
The Razorbacks notched their second goal at the 56:06 mark when Hallauer launched a shot from the other side of midfield that Blanton came out to play but misjudged only to see it bounce over her head and into the back of the net. The goal made the score, 2-2. Hallauer’s only other goal during her Arkansas career came on a similar play last season against Kentucky.
The Atkins-Wentz combination teamed up again for the Razorback’s third goal. Atkins held off a Falcon defender along the end line and crossed a ball into the box to a streaking Wentz. The Fayetteville, Ark., native tapped the ball past the goalkeeper at the 57:37 mark for her second goal of the contest.
Schleif added an insurance goal with a liner from outside the 18-yard back that crossed in front of Blanton and into the far side of the net to give the match its final score. The four goals are the most by Arkansas in a home opener since the 2006 season when the team beat Northeastern State, 4-0.
In the first match of the Razorback Adidas Classic, Missouri State defeated Austin Peay, 2-0. The two-day event will conclude Sunday when the Razorbacks take the field against Missouri State. The matchup is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start at Razorback Field. Live stats will be available at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.