A Weekend Without a Loss: The Lady Razorbacks went through last weekend without a loss, a feat that has happened often this year, but not often in SEC play. Arkansas decimated Alabama to the tune of a 5-0 victory, and then worked a tie against Auburn, 0-0.
Surprising Win: While Arkansas’ victory over Alabama was not a huge surprise, the way in which the Lady’Backs won was. No one would have guessed that the Lady Razorbacks would hang five on the SEC foe. The 5-0 final was the largest margin of victory by an Arkansas team over an SEC opponent since the 1999 season when it defeated Mississippi State 8-0.
Deja Vu: The last time the Lady Razorbacks went through a conference weekend without a loss was during the 2000 season when they defeated Auburn and Alabama, Oct. 13& 15. That weekend, the Lady’Backs won both their matches, 3-2 and 5-2.
Not Since 1999: While it was the 2000 season when Arkansas went through a conference weekend without a loss, it was the 1999 season when the Lady’Backs posted back-to-back shutouts in conference games. That season, the Lady’Backs blanked LSU on a Sunday afternoon, then came back the following Friday night and picked up a 3-0 win against Alabama.
15th in the Central Region: The Lady Razorbacks have finally done it. Thanks to its 10-4-1 overall record and 3-3-1 conference clip, Arkansas is ranked in a tie for 15th in the latest SoccerBuzz Regional Rankings. The central region is composed of 68 teams.
First Time Ever: Arkansas’ regional ranking in the SoccerBuzz poll is its first ever regional ranking. Prior to Oct. 16, 2006, the Lady’Backs had never been ranked in the SoccerBuzz rankings which date back to 1996.
First Arkansas Team: Not only are the Lady Razorbacks making their first appearance in the SoccerBuzz rankings, they are also the first team from the state of Arkansas to appear in the online magazine’s poll.
Arkansas’ RPI: The NCAA released its mid-year RPI rankings on Oct. 3 and the Lady Razorbacks sat at 53rd in the nation, its best RPI ranking ever. The Lady’Backs are the seventh ranked team in the Southeastern Conference and are ahead of league foes, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State.
Lack of Consecutive Losses: One of the changes in the Lady Razorback soccer season in 2006 is its lack of prolonged losing streaks. Only once this season has Arkansas lost back-to-back games and that came Sept. 24 and Sept. 29 against Vanderbilt (double overtime) and Mississippi.
The Florida Gators: The Florida Gators enter the weekend with an impressive record of 10-4-2 overall and are a near perfect 6-1-1 in Southeastern Conference play. While the squad may not have the swagger and laundry list of impressive victories as it has in the past, this team is very good as evidenced by their 1-0 loss to North Carolina and several other feats.
Conference Leaders: At 6-1-1 and 19 points, the Florida Gators are the Southeastern Conference leaders. They are five points clear of the next best record and are looking not only to clinch their spot in the tournament, but also to ensure the number one seed.
An Old Friend/New Foe: Arkansas is going to see a very familiar face on the Florida sideline this weekend, former head coach Alan Kirkup. After leaving Arkansas, Kirkup returned to his native England and was coaxed back to the coaching arena by Florida head coach Becky Burleigh.
Arkansas vs. Florida: It has not been pretty for the Lady Razorbacks over the years when they have taken on the Florida Gators. In 10 career meetings, Arkansas has yet to pick up a win, although it has come close on several occasions. Prior to the SEC moving to an 11-match schedule, most of Arkansas’ meetings with Florida came in the SEC Tournament where the Gators walked away with a pair of one-goal wins.
In 2005: Arkansas and Florida played a tough defensive struggle in their 2005 meeting in Fayetteville. Both teams traveled to Fayetteville on Saturday after Friday night matches and played to a stalemate for 81 minutes before Megan Kerns knocked in a 20-yard shot to give the Gators a 1-0 victory.
The SEC Standings: The Lady Razorbacks are currently fourth in the SEC’s Western Division in a tight group of teams not just battling for a trip to the SEC Tournament but also for the division championship. Ole Miss leads the way with 13 points followed by Auburn (12) and LSU (11). In the east Florida is the runaway squad with three teams sitting at 14 points.
The Road to Orange Beach: It is still a long and winding road to the SEC Tournament, but if the season were to end today, Arkansas would be a proud guest at the Championships as the eighth seed. At 10 points, Arkansas is tied with Kentucky for the eighth spot but currently gets the nod over the Wildcats thanks to its +3 goal differential.
South Carolina: After beginning its SEC schedule on fire, the South Carolina Gamecocks have cooled a bit and are now in a three-team battle for second in the SEC East. The first team in the league to 10 points, the Gamecocks now have 14 and are coming off a 1-0 victory at home against Mississippi State and double overtime tie with Mississippi.
Scoring Woes: Part of South Carolina’s problems of late have stemmed from its lack of scoring in conference matches. The Gamecocks are next to last in the league in goals scored with six, but have still managed to earn 14 points on four wins and two ties in conference play.
The Series: The Arkansas-South Carolina series used to be a South Carolina advantage and while the Gamecocks still hold the series lead at 4-3-0, Arkansas hopes to tie it up in 2006. After dropping the first match in 1996, South Carolina went on a three-game winning streak, but since 2002, Arkansas has won two of the past three meetings. Interestingly, Arkansas has won twice in Columbia, but lost its one home match since 2002.
Last Season: Christina Burger was the Arkansas answer to South Carolina in 2005 as she scored a pair of goals in a 2-1 Lady Razorback victory. Going into the half with a 1-0 lead, Arkansas conceded a goal to South Carolina’s Darcel Mollen in the 51st minute, but came back with a second in the 72nd, then held on down the stretch for the key road victory.
Defensive Player of the Week 2: Thanks to her part in Arkansas’ victory and tie against Alabama and Auburn, senior goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week. The honor is Dillsaver’s second of the year and she becomes just the second Lady Razorback to ever earn a player of the week honor twice in her career joining Arkansas’ all-time leading scorer Julie Williford.
Not So Fast My Friend: While the Lady Razorbacks posted a pair of shutout wins over the weekend, goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver was credited with just one moving her career total to 17, 1/2 behind the all-time Lady Razorback record. The reason for this comes from the NCAA Statisticians Rulebook which states that if more than one person plays in goal during a contest then a team shutout is credited rather than any individual and since Jackie Booker played 3:01 of the Alabama game, Dillsaver only get credit for the Auburn shutout.
The Actual Numbers: A breakdown of Dillsaver’s accomplishments and what could be next on the Arkansas all-time record books: