Opening Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks had a moderately successful opening weekend going 1-1-0 with a win against Tulsa and a double overtime loss to Memphis. The win was Arkansas’ first season opening victory since 2005 and just it’s third in the last eight seasons.
Fourth Straight: The Lady Razorbacks’ victory over Tulsa to open the 2007 season is their fourth consecutive win against the Golden Hurricane.
What’s On Tap: The Lady Razorbacks are going to be busy this week as they add a mid-week contest to their regular slate of games. On Wednesday, Arkansas travels to Tulsa, Okla., to play Oral Roberts before hosting Austin Peay on Friday. The weekend concludes with a trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., to play Western Michigan.
Weekend of Firsts: While Arkansas and Oral Roberts have seen each other numerous times over the years, the rest of the weekend should be interesting. The Lady Razorbacks have never faced either Austin Peay or Western Michigan making this a weekend of firsts.
Game Winner: Freshman Kelly O’Connor scored Arkansas’ first goal of the season last Friday night and eventual game winner. Knocking an eight-yard shot past the Tulsa goalkeeper, O’Connor is the second freshman in as many years to score Arkansas’ first goal of the season.
Two in Two Games: While you can’t give an assist on a direct free kick that is struck by a player without another person touching it, you could give a nod to Kelly O’Connor’s effort against Memphis. O’Connor was driving to the top of the penalty area when she was taken down by a Memphis player which led to an Arkansas direct kick. Rachel Smith would take the shot and score to give the Lady’Backs a 1-0 lead in the game.
Oral Roberts: The ORU Golden Eagles opened its 2007 season at the University of Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon and fell to the Sooners, 4-1. Oral Roberts is coming off a season where it went 5-9-3 overall and 1-3-2 in the Summitt League. It returns six starters and 12 letterwinners from last season’s squad and should be improved this fall.
The Season Opener: Oral Roberts fell behind early, conceding a goal in the 18th minute of play, then two more before the half. In a four-goal deficit by the 50th minute, the Golden Eagles did get a score from Shakira Dincan in the 65th minute, but it was too little too late.
The All-Time Series: The Lady Razorbacks have been very successful against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles over the years, going 7-2 all-time against the border rival. In a series of patterns, Arkansas won the first three contests against Oral Roberts before falling in the fourth. Arkansas would make another three-game winning streak before a second loss to the Golden Eagles. The 2007 meeting is the second since Arkansas’ last loss to Oral Roberts.
Last Meeting: The last meeting between Arkansas and Oral Roberts took place on Sept. 4, 2005 in Fayetteville and saw the Lady Razorbacks pick up a solid 3-0 victory. Arkansas held the Golden Eagles to just six shots with only two on face while taking 11 for themselves and connecting on three. Arkansas’ goals were scored by former Lady’Backs Megan McCool and Tara Sagaser.
SEC Preseason Poll: The Southeastern Conference released its 2007 preseason poll and the University of Arkansas was slated to finish fourth in the SEC’s Western Division. The Lady Razorbacks are well ahead of Alabama and Mississippi State in the Western Division and close to LSU who ranks third. Auburn leads the West with eight first-place votes and 58 points. In the east, Florida leads the way with nine first-place votes and 57 points. Tennessee ranks second despite a lock of first-place votes with 47 votes. Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky all received one first-place vote.
Austin Peay: The Lady Govs of Austin Peay opened their 2007 season on the road at the Wright State Classic last weekend and had a rough start as they dropped both games they played. Opening the season with Evansville, Austin Peay fell 2-1 on Friday before getting shut out by Wright State on Sunday afternoon.
First Time: Arkansas’ meeting with Austin Peay on Friday night will be their first time the two squads have ever met on the soccer pitch.
On the Scoreboard: Sophomore Rachel Smith made personal history last Sunday afternoon against Memphis when she scored the first goal of her collegiate career. Striking a 22-yard shot through the hands of the Memphis goalkeeper and into the side netting, Smith had played more than 1,700 minutes over two seasons before the score.
Number Change: Last season Rachel Smith patrolled the field wearing number 21. This season, the starting sophomore outside defender dons the number 2. After the departure of former Lady’Back Devon Burger to graduation, Smith chose to wear that number.
The SEC Standings: Following the first week of collegiate soccer action, Arkansas is fourth in the SEC’s Western Division with a 1-1-0 overall record. Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State each went undefeated with two wins while Mississippi and Auburn each posted ties. In the east, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are the undefeated squads with Kentucky and Vanderbilt picking up wins and ties each.
Two Losses: After one week of play the Southeastern Conference is a staggering 15-2-5. That equates to a .795 winning percentage.
Western Michigan: The Western Michigan Broncos have struggled so far with a pair of losses in their opening slate of games. Playing a high level of opponent didn’t help the Broncos, but a 2-0 loss to Missouri State to open the season was followed by a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Missouri. If you include Western Michigan’s preseason exhibition match with Michigan State, it is 0-3 and has been outscored 11-2.
The Missouri Match: The scoring was fast and furious when Western Michigan took on Missouri in Columbia. The Tigers got on the board quickly in the sixth minute, but Western Michigan tied it up with its first goal of the season just two minutes later. Missouri would again take the lead in the 25th minute, but a defiant Bronco squad tied the match at two four minutes later. Tied at two at the half, Missouri would score three goals in the second 45 minutes to grab the victory.
Another First: Arkansas’ meeting with Western Michigan is also a first in Lady Razorback history. In fact, it is Arkansas’ first trip to the state of Michigan in 22 years.
Britni Williams: One of two freshmen to start the season opener, Britni Williams performed admirably in goal for the Lady Razorbacks. Making five saves in her debut match, Williams recorded her first win and shutout in the contest.
A Lady Razorback First: In what is quickly becoming a season of firsts for the Lady Razorbacks, Britni Williams made her mark on Lady Razorback 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.
Keeping it Up: To say that Britni Williams will be able to keep up the pace she currently has in keeping opponents out of the goal might be premature, but it is always fun to speculate. With a 0.92 goals against average, Williams would have the second best single season goals against average in Lady Razorback history behind Carrie Dillsaver’s 2006 average of 0.91.
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.
Strong in the Back: Of Arkansas’ returning six, three are defenders which should give the Lady Razorbacks strength in the back line. That group will be key to Arkansas’ success this fall as they start a new goalkeeper.
Home Schedule: Arkansas’ home schedule in 2007 is quite favorable and should bring lots of excitement to Lady’Back Field. There are 11 contests on the home slate as opposed to just nine on the road. The action begins on Aug. 31 when the Lady’Backs host Tulsa and concludes on the final day of the regular season, Nov. 2 against LSU. The Lady’Backs play six conference games at home and even have a stretch of six consecutive home matches from Sept. 21 to Oct. 7.
SEC All-Freshman Team: Sophomore Kim Schleif made University of Arkansas Lady Razorback history last fall when she became Arkansas’ first SEC all-Freshman team member. Playing the majority of her time at outside midfield, Schleif scored three goals and added an assist in 19 matches, 12 of which she started.
Proving Herself: Kim Schleif may be the most decorated returning Lady Razorback with her all-freshman team honors, but that didn’t stop her from training hard over the off season. In her first game back, Schleif assisted on the Lady Razorbacks first goal of the season with a nice cross into the mixer from the left side which led to Kelly O’Connor’s goal.
Leading Returning Scorer: Believe it or not, but junior Lindsay Patterson enters the 2007 season as Arkansas’ leading returning scorer. The Texas native scored five times in 2006 and assisted on another goal for 11 points last season. A running mate with three-time leading scorer Christina Burger, Patterson will be called on to pick up some of the scoring slack Arkansas faces without Burger who graduated last spring.
On the Board Again: Lindsay Patterson hopes to stay among the Arkansas leaders in scoring this fall and put herself on that path with a goal off the bench against Tulsa. Patterson produced a fine diving header in the 39th minute against the Golden Hurricane to give the Lady’Backs a comfortable lead and place herself among the team’s top scorers.