Another Rough One: The Lady Razorbacks endured another tough weekend of play, losing to Kentucky and Vanderbilt over the weekend. The Lady Razorbacks did manage to get a game-tying score against the Wildcats, but could not hold on.
Injuries Mount: The Lady Razorbacks added another to the questionable list over the weekend when junior forward Whitney Allison was a game-time scratch on Sunday afternoon. While players like Kim Schleif, Camille Flores and Allison Harris are returning to the lineup, each is not 100 percent.
A Tough October: At the end of September Arkansas’ injuries began to mount and that has led to a tough month of October. Since the calendar turned, Arkansas has gone 0-5-1, losing its last four matches. Arkansas’ lone tie was an incredible effort against #6 Tennessee on Oct. 7 at Lady’Back Field.
Dangerous Combination: For the second time this season, the Lady Razorbacks have connected for a goal on a Lindsay Patterson throw in to Kathleen Paulsen. The first time was at Centenary, but that took effort, the Kentucky goal was a throw by Patterson into the penalty area which Paulsen flicked on with the outside of her foot.
Working Hard: Lindsay Patterson has been one of the hardest working Lady’Backs this fall and with running mate Kelly O’Connor down for the season, Patterson’s work just increased. In a position that often gets substituted frequently, she played the entire match against Alabama and most of the contests with Auburn and Kentucky.
Game-Tying Strike: The Lady Razorbacks scored the game-tying goal against Tennessee midway through the second half thanks to the play of freshman Ally Atkins and junior Lindsay Patterson. Atkins dribbled deep into Tennessee territory before leaving the ball off for Patterson who left the Lady Vol goalkeeper no chance at a save. Patterson’s goal was the first game-tying strike of the season by a Lady Razorback who has become accustomed to playing out in front.
Thursday Match: The Southeastern Conference changed its schedule prior to the 2007 season and on this weekend when teams are playing both home and away, the first match of the weekend is on Thursday night, not Friday. For Arkansas that means that Florida comes to town on Thursday, Oct. 25 before the Lady Razorbacks travel to Columbia, S.C., to play South Carolina on Sunday afternoon.
The Florida Gators: After a stunning opening weekend of SEC play, the Florida Gators are climbing back into the SEC Championship picture. Since opening the conference season 0-2-0, the Gators have won five straight and are third in the Eastern Division with 15 points.
Struggles Against the Gators: The Lady Razorbacks have struggled mightily over the years with the Florida Gators, going 0-11-0. While there have been some close calls (2006, 2005, 2004, 1999) Arkansas has been unable to get any type of result against the perennial SEC powerhouse.
The 2006 Match: In what was probably the closest match Arkansas has ever played against the Gators, it was a somewhat controversial ending that gave the Gators a 1-0 victory in double overtime in Gainesville. Tied at zero heading into the second period of extra time, the referee stopped the clock for an injury and rather than let goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver clear the ball as play began made her kick it off the turf. The kick went to a Gator player who fired it right back at the Arkansas goal for the game winner.
The SEC Standings: After struggling through the month of October, Arkansas has tumbled to the bottom of the SEC Western Division. Auburn and LSU are tied at the top with 15 points each. In the east, Tennessee has rebounded from its road struggles at Arkansas and LSU to take the overall conference lead and have a two-point cushion on Georgia and a four-point margin on Florida.
Arkansas’ Struggles: The much publicized Lady Razorback struggles have been in large part to injuries. Four Lady Razorbacks are out for the year including two forwards, a midfielder and a defender.
Lost Scoring: Prior to Arkansas’ rash of injuries, the Lady Razorbacks had started to put together a system that works in terms of scoring. The injuries have decimated that approach and the Lady’Backs are struggling to find their offensive identity. To put this into some perspective, Arkansas’ four players on the sideline count for 45 percent of the team’s offense this fall. The largest loss was freshman Kelly O’Connor who still leads the team in scoring despite missing the last five matches.
TV Time: For the first time in several years, Arkansas will play on television when it takes on the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday afternoon. This is Arkansas’ fourth time on Television since the 2000 season and in the three previous meetings the Lady’Backs are 1-1-1 with a win over Vanderbilt, a tie with LSU and a loss to LSU.
South Carolina: Ranked as high as 12th in the nation at one point, South Carolina has struggled a bit since SEC play started, but opened the year with a 1-0 victory over perennial national champion North Carolina making it a formidable team.
Last Season: The Lady Razorbacks got on the scoreboard just two minutes into the contest on a Katie Hamilton goal, but allowed Carolina back into the game in the 56th minute. The two teams would battle the rest of the contest to a 1-1 tie despite Arkansas’ offensive dominance outshooting the Gamecocks 21-9 and taking eight corners to Carolina’s one.
The Unsung Hero: Arkansas’ defense has been outstanding all season and there has been no question that the cohesive unit which is the back four is a major reason why. However, analyzing the play of the back line, one always comes to center back Megan Fawley as one of the major factors. Fawley is one of the most consistent players that Arkansas has anywhere on the field and is a tremendous leader in the back for what has become a young group.
Returned from Injury: One of the things people may not know about Megan Fawley is that she saw only sparse minutes as a sophomore due to an Achilles injury. A starter for the Lady Razorbacks as a true freshman, she missed most of her sophomore year and returns as a junior with only 23 games experience.
Perfect: Senior Allison Harris may not be the perfect player on the soccer field, but she certainly has those capabilities in the classroom. Harris is your ideal student-athlete. She has started all 59 games of her career over four years and maintains a perfect 4.0 grade point average in psychology.
A Soccer First: To the best of anyone at the University’s knowledge, Allison Harris is the first Lady Razorback soccer player to maintain a perfect 4.0 grade point average for eight semesters. That number could become nine after this fall.
Academic Honors: Last fall Allison Harris became just the second Lady Razorback soccer player to be named ESPN The Magazine Academic all-American when she was voted to the third team. A three-time first-team all-district award winner, Harris has also been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times and the UA Academic Champions list eight times.
Shutout Minutes: While the streak ended against Mississippi, Arkansas set a school record for keeping its opponents off the scoreboard. Over a six-game span, the Lady Razorbacks racked up a streak of 506:53, shattering the old mark of 361:20 which was set over the course of two seasons, 1991 and 1992.
Near Record Attendance: The Lady Razorback soccer team is enjoying the benefit of near record attendances this fall with an average home crowd of 681. The total is the second largest in Lady Razorback history (2005, 703) and has been accomplished by three of Arkansas’ top 10 single-game crowds making their way to Lady’Back Field.
Paulsen Nets the Game Winner: Sophomore Kathleen Paulsen scored Arkansas’ lone goal in its 1-0 overtime victory over Centenary on Sunday afternoon. She took a throw in from Lindsay Patterson deep in the Centenary end and played the ball across her body with her left foot, then turned and fired with the same foot and sent a scorching ball into the side netting.
Huge Scores: Coming into the 2007 season, Kathleen Paulsen had scored one goal. So far this year, she has netted three and each has been significant. Her first score came against Austin Peay, a tally that would eventually win that contest, then her second against Centenary, another game winner. Her third strike tied the match with Kentucky for her second career game-tying goal.
A Third Goes Down: In the sixth minute of Arkansas game with the Florida Gators, Britni Williams will have eclipsed a third Lady Razorback freshman record, this one for minutes played. Williams currently has 1,544 minutes under her belt this fall and trails Carrie Dillsaver’s 2003 mark of 1,549.
Still Among the Top 100: Back-to-back weekends on the road in Southeastern Conference play can be tough on anyone’s statistics, especially a goalkeeper. Britni Williams’ stats may have slipped so that she is not among the top 40 in the nation, but the freshman is still ranked among the nation’s top 100 goalkeepers. She is currently 62nd in save percentage at .831 and 76th in goals against average (.874).
Matching a Second: Having already secured the record for shutouts by an Arkansas freshman, Britni Williams matched a second record against Mississippi State by recording her eighth win. She tied the 20-year-old mark of Adrin Pedigo with the victory and has the potential to break all eight of Arkansas’ freshman goalkeeping records by the end of the season.
Williams Named Freshman of the Week: Britni Williams was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week based on her performances against Louisiana Tech and Centenary. Over the weekend she made six saves against 16 shots and did not allow a goal as she claimed her fourth shutout of the season.
Only the Second: Britni Williams is just the second Lady Razorback to earn a Freshman of the Week honor. Abbey Wilburn was the first back in October of 2005.
A Lady Razorback First: In what is quickly becoming a season of firsts for the Lady Razorbacks, Britni Williams made her mark on Arkansas history on Friday, August 31. In that contest she became the first Lady Razorback true freshman goalkeeper to post a shutout in her first collegiate match. That accomplishment encompasses 22 years of Lady Razorback soccer history.
Shutouts Galore: The Lady Razorbacks matched their single-season record for shutouts against Mississippi State when they booked their eighth of the season. Arkansas has recorded eight shutouts two times before, 1991 and 1996 and has nine games left to break the record.
A Lady Razorback Record: It took just 20 seconds for the Lady Razorbacks to get on the scoreboard against Oral Roberts and the quick tally was an Arkansas record for a first goal. Junior Abbey Wilburn nailed a shot from just outside the penalty area that skimmed off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal to give Arkansas a lead and set the record. Prior to Wilburn’s score, the fastest Lady Razorback goal had been 1:00 set by Jessica Fraser back in 1997 against Mississippi State.
Versus Ranked Opponents: The Lady Razorbacks have struggled against ranked opponents over the years. Going back through the record books and previous polls, we have accounted for 12 matches that Arkansas has played against the NSCAA top 25 and in that time the Lady’Backs are 1-10-1. Arkansas’ tie came this fall against #6 Tennessee and its lone win against 19th-ranked SMU back in 1993.