FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ soccer team plays host to No. 7 Oklahoma State on Sunday and it’s Senior Day as five Razorbacks will be recognized prior to the game.
The 1-1 Razorbacks meet the Cowgirls at 1 p.m. Sunday at Razorback Field.
Five student-athletes, Kailey Anders, Brittany Hudson, Daniella O’Shea, Chelsea Tidwell and Kendal Winston, are playing their final season for Arkansas.
Anders, Tidwell and Winston are true seniors while Hudson and O’Shea are juniors athletically but seniors academically and expected to graduate this year.
Senior Day in August may be new, but head coach Erin Aubry explained this is a way to honor this group throughout the season.
"Senior Day is typically at the end of the year and there’s so much emotion that it can be good and bad on that day," Aubry says. "Because our leadership is so strong from this class, we wanted to use the opportunity to make it known and highlight their last year, not just their last game.
"We wanted to use a quality opponent early in the season for our youngsters to appreciate what our seniors have done and continue to do on a daily basis," she says. "That respect will grow and grow and grow every day. This is a special group and we’re excited to be honoring them."
Anders, who is a nominee for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, is from Allen, Texas. She has played in 58 games with 42 starts for her career. Anders started all 19 games each of the last two years at defender before moving to forward this season. She was second on the team with 1,739 minutes played as a junior and fourth with 1,686 in 2009. Anders has earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week and Soccer America Women’s Team of the Week honors over her career, and she’s scored four goals with four assists. This year, she leads the team with seven shot attempts, six shots on goal and an .857 shots on goal percentage, and she’s tied for first with one goal.
"Kailey is probably one of the most impactful players we have on the field," Aubry says.
Hudson is from Little Rock. She has played in one game, and she got the win as UA’s goalkeeper in last year’s victory at Missouri State. She played the second half and overtime, a total of 52:17 minutes, and had three saves as Arkansas posted a 2-1 win.
"Brittany is part of a tough group of goalkeepers," Aubry says. "(Freshman) Emily (Lillard) is getting better every day and players like Brittany are making her get better. We had our team goal-setting meeting last week and Brittany led that meeting."
O’Shea, who is from Marietta, Ga., has played in 12 games, all last year. She played 236 minutes, had a .500 shots on goal percentage and helped Arkansas record a shutout in the 0-0 double-overtime tie at No. 17 Georgia.
"She is constantly leading," Aubry says. "Our training sessions are unbelievable because she’s pushing everybody ahead of her."
Tidwell, from Oxford, Miss., transferred to Arkansas from Winthrop for the 2009 season. She has appeared in 19 games with one start. Tidwell had a .500 shots on goal percentage last year and for her career. Tidwell scored a goal in the 2009 victory at Michigan.
"Chelsea is crafty," Aubry says. "She brings a little spark. She brings our game element and training to a new level."
Winston, from McKinney, Texas, has played in two games with one start. She played the second half in a victory over Nicholls State in 2008, recording two saves. In 2009, she started and earned the win with three saves against Michigan.
"At Kansas, when we were dying at the end of the game and physically struggling, our bench was very quiet," Aubry says. "Kendal turned to them and said ‘We have to let them know we still believe in them.’ You can’t coach that leadership. She got the bench going and got the team through that game."
All five student-athletes have been named to the SEC and Arkansas academic honor rolls.