The Final Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks are entering what could be the final weekend of the season when they face LSU on Friday night, then Sunday in a make-up match from late September. Arkansas needs to pick up a win and a tie and get some help if it has aspirations of playing beyond the final weekend of the regular season.
The Scenarios: To spell out all the scenarios would take up three pages of this fact sheet, the general gist of every one is beat Kentucky and get a result against LSU. If Arkansas matches Kentucky’s effort on Friday night, then defeats the Wildcats on Sunday, Arkansas can advance to its first SEC Tournament in six years.
Worse Case: It is conceivable, however unlikely, that no matter what Arkansas does, it could be shutout of the SEC Tournament. If Arkansas wins both of its matches this weekend and finishes the season with 17 points and Kentucky beats Vanderbilt, Tennessee loses to Georgia and Mississippi defeats Mississippi State, all four teams would tie for fifth overall in the SEC and Arkansas would be the odd-man out as it would have a 1-2-0 record against the other schools.
Coming Down to the Last Game, Again: The Lady Razorbacks were hoping that their post-season fates would not come down to the final match of the season against LSU for the fifth-straight season. Well, the LSU match isn’t the final game of the season, but it is just as important. Arkansas needs a win or tie against theTigers, then must win against Kentucky to advance to the SEC Tournament.
First Weekend Without a Win: The Lady Razorbacks experienced something that they are not used to last weekend and that was a two-game set without a win. Arkansas had won at least one of its two matches in every weekend this season until it faced Florida and South Carolina where it took a double-overtime loss, then a tie.
Three Straight: Arkansas’ coaches knew that they end of the season would bring a tough stretch of games and looking at the results proves it. The Lady Razorbacks have played three consecutive double overtime matches, the longest stretch in school history.
Extra Time: The Lady Razorbacks are unfortunately getting used to “free” soccer this fall with six matches that have reached overtime. The total equals the most ever by any Arkansas team set twice in 1996 and 1993. Coincidentally, both seasons were the last time Arkansas has posted double-digit wins.
Still Ranked: Despite not picking up a win for the first weekend this season, the Lady Razorbacks held steady in the latest SoccerBuzz central region poll. Tied for 15th in the Oct. 16th poll, Arkansas remained in that spot on Oct. 23rd.
Back-to-Back Rankings: As we mentioned last week, Arkansas’ ranking is its first in school history and this week it posts back-to-back rankings for the first time.
The LSU Tigers: Boasting one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, the LSU Tigers have begun to make a name for themselves this fall. Playing a tough schedule, LSU has earned an 8-8-3 overall record and are 3-4-3 in SEC play. Early in the season, LSU received votes on a pair of national polls, but have since dropped out of those rankings and even the central region rankings.
An Even Series: It has been an even series for Arkansas and LSU over the years with neither team getting a clear cut lead. Arkansas did manage to go up on the Tigers by two matches, but have since lost two to make the all-time mark 5-5-1.
Wild Games: There have been some wild affairs over the years between Arkansas and LSU including a 6-5 overtime game that was halted to lightening in 2001 and last season’s 4-3 LSU win that saw Arkansas score two goals with just 10 -players on the field. Expect another wild one this fall.
Last Year: It was an ugly game from Arkansas’ standpoint as it watched LSU go up 4-1 late in the contest. A rough match with seven cards issued in total, Arkansas’ Devon Burger was issued a red card for a foul and forced to sit with 17 minutes to play. Despite the setback, Christina Burger came roaring back with a pair of goals in the 81st and 88th minute, but the Lady’Backs came up just short on senior day.
The SEC Standings: Following another crazy weekend of SEC play, the SEC standings were jumbled slightly. Florida still leads the east, but their lead shrank as Vanderbilt won a pair of matches to move into second. In the west, Mississippi lost the division lead for the first time this season as Auburn’s late surge gave it a one-point lead. This fall, 10 teams in the SEC have at least 10 points compared to last year where just eight earned double digits.
The Road to Orange Beach: Four teams have earned a spot at the SEC Tournament and six more are vying for the final four spots. Florida, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Tennessee are in. Auburn and Georgia are virtually a lock to go and it could come down to Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU and Mississippi for the final two spots depending on what happens.
Kentucky: After struggling to open the season, Kentucky has put together quite the run in SEC play and because of that is looking to solidify its place at the SEC Tournament. A huge Wildcat win against Tennessee along with a tie versus Florida have been the key factors in Kentucky’s run. The Wildcat’s loss to Georgia last Sunday was its first loss in five games.
Getting Stronger: Kentucky opened Southeastern Conference play with a loss to LSU, then another loss to Auburn and at 0-2 were looking as though they could struggle. Since that second loss, they rolled off a pair of wins against Alabama and South Carolina, and then picked up a huge 0-0 tie with Florida. With confidence, the Wildcats then defeated Tennessee before losing to Georgia.
The Original Meeting: Arkansas and Kentucky were originally scheduled to play on Friday night, Sept. 22, but because of a thunder storm, were unable to even take the field. The two teams waited out the storm for two hours before the game was eventually postponed and rescheduled to this Sunday afternoon.
Last Season: In another tough loss by the Lady Razorbacks in Lexington, Ky., Arkansas and Kentucky were tied late before Courtney McCrudden scored with just 24 seconds left on the clock. The Lady’Backs had been down most of the match, but a goal by Megan McCool brought the Arkansas bench back to life.
Another Potential Record: Of all the records that Carrie Dillsaver has earned so far, none may be as impressive as what she is on the verge of accomplishing. If she can get through the rest of the season and maintain her current goals against average, she could set the Lady Razorbacks’ single-season record. Currently at 0.90, the record is 1.00 set by none other than Molly Myers in 1989.
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 Alabama and Auburn, 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 gets 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: