A Weekend Split: The Lady Razorbacks would have liked to open the season 2-0, but a weekend split is just fine. Falling in the season opener on the road, 3-2, to Southeast Missouri, Arkansas rebounded on Sunday afternoon to defeat Tulsa, 1-0, at Lady’Back Field. The split is the first time since 2001 that Arkansas has a 1-1-0 record after two games.
Record Crowd: The crowd at Sunday’s home opener of 639 is the seventh largest in Lady Razorback history and the benchmark for home openers. The previous best for a home opener was 564 set in 1994 against Mercer.
Beating Tulsa: It was a long time coming, but Arkansas’ victory over the University of Tulsa was the first time since 1994 that a Lady Razorback squad has defeated the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa had won seven of the past eight contests against Arkansas with the lone non-victory, a 3-3 tie in 1996.
Southwest Missouri State: Southwest Missouri State enters the Arkansas match with a 1-0-0 record after a resounding, 6-1, victory over Murray State last Friday night. The Bears were scheduled to play on Sunday against Iowa but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather. Last season, SMS was 9-9-3 overall and finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Big Win: Southwest Missouri decimated Murray State last Friday night with a 6-1 victory that saw four different Bears score. Kate Blair was the offensive leader as she tallied two scores in the first 6:06 of play to lead the way. Chelsea Anderson scored the Bears fourth goal and assisted on both of Blair’s scores to earn four points.
The Series: Arkansas’ series with Southwest Missouri State has been dominated by the Lady Razorbacks. Arkansas owns a 5-1-0 record all time against SMS with the only loss coming in 1999 in Springfield, Mo. Since then, Arkansas has defeated SMS two times with the last meeting coming during the 2001 season.
Last Meeting: It wasn’t much of a contest the last time Arkansas faced Southwest Missouri State, Oct. 24, 2001. The Lady Razorbacks routed their Springfield, Mo., native 4-0 in Fayetteville. Former Lady’Back Julie Williford scored one of her numerous hat tricks in the contest, putting together two goals in the first half and her third early in the second.
First Goal: The first goal of the 2004 Lady Razorback soccer season was scored by none other than . . . . Allison Harris. A sophomore defender from Snellville, Ga., Harris connected on a direct free kick from 35 yards to tie the game with Southeast Missouri at one midway through the first half. The goal was the first of Harris’ career and her second points after assisting on one score as a freshman.
The SEC Standings: It’s tough to break into the elite of the Southeastern Conference and the opening weekend of play justifies that. Arkansas split the weekend against Southeast Missouri and Tulsa and for that is sixth in the SEC’s Western Division. All five other schools in the west went 2-0-0 over the weekend to log jam in a tie for first. In the east, only Florida went undefeated at 2-0-0 with Tennessee winning once. Georgia and Vanderbilt each tied their lone match while South Carolina and Kentucky went winless.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma enters the weekend without a win, but two draws from its opening series against St. Louis and SMU. Tabbed to finish seventh in the Big XII, the Sooners lost one of their key weapons in Logan Womack from a year ago and must find a way to replace her scoring potential in 2004.
Spread Out Scoring: The Sooners scored three goals in their two ties last weekend, but like the Lady Razorbacks, no one individual had more than one tally. The only thing one might be able to gleam from the numbers is that Shana All is a playmaker since she has two of the Sooner’s three assists. Goal scorers for Oklahoma include Lauren MacIver, Michelle Enos and Allyson Kucera.
Oklahoma Dominates: The Lady Razorbacks have never beaten the Oklahoma Sooners in women’s soccer. In five career meetings, Oklahoma is 5-0-0 and has outscored Arkansas 14-3. In fact the Sooners have tallied three goals in each of the past four games.
Last Meeting: The Lady Razorbacks traveled to Norman, Okla., to take on the Sooners last season and dropped a 3-1 decision in the first game of the year. Logan Womack put Oklahoma on the board in the 18th minute followed by Lauren McIver in the 34th. Christina Burger made it a one-goal game five minutes into the second half, but numerous missed opportunities for the Lady Razorbacks halted any comeback option. The Sooners made it even harder for Arkansas to come back when they tallied their third goal in the 61st minute.
Arkansas’ Leading Scorer: With all-time leading scorer Julie Williford having completed her soccer eligibility, the Lady Razorbacks are looking for someone to fill the void and if numbers are what you look to, then Christina Burger could be her replacement. Scoring six goals and two assists in 2003, Burger is Arkansas leading returning scorer and what looks good for the Lady Razorbacks is that she was able to notch her scores from all over the field.
One in Game One: Perhaps it is going to be a trend for Christina Burger to score in a season opener. As a freshman she scored Arkansas’ only goal in its opener against Oklahoma and in 2004, she did it again with a long arcing shot at Southeast Missouri. The goal was the seventh of Burger’s career.
Two Goals in 17 Seconds: It has only been done 17 times before, but Christina Burger scored two goals in 17 seconds against Kentucky to at least tie for 18th on the NCAAs fastest goals scored list. Only the 11th individual to score both goals in that time span, Burger netted her pair in nearly identical fashions from the right side. The NCAA record you might ask, five seconds between goals.
Limited Action: Following a preseason injury to her knee, Arkansas’ coaches felt that working Christina Burger into the lineup slowly was their best option to keep the sophomore healthy. Coming off the bench against Baylor in the preseason, Burger played sparingly, but has logged 70 and 67 minutes in Arkansas’ first two contests.
Probable for the Weekend: Junior defender Andrea Sparks and sophomore midfielder Kristie Holman are both probable for Arkansas’ weekend series against Southwest Missouri State and Oklahoma. Sparks suffered a concussion against Southeast Missouri while Holman was taken down hard against Tulsa and injured her shoulder.
Returning Starter: If there is one thing for sure, it’s that Carrie Dillsaver will start in goal for the Lady Razorbacks this fall. The only goalkeeper with experience on the roster, Dillsaver was Arkansas’ starter last season and did a fabulous job between the posts as she accumulated a 1.92 goals against average in an Arkansas record 1,549 minutes played by a freshman.
Record Setter: Carrie Dillsaver beat out a senior for the starting goalkeeper’s position in 2003 and after doing so, set the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback record for minutes played in goal by a freshman. Ironically, Dillsaver broke the record that had been set four years earlier by the same senior whom she beat out for the starting position.
Already One of the Best: The University of Arkansas has tradition when it comes to soccer, 18 years of tradition and to say that Carrie Dillsaver is already one of the best to play says something. After one season, she ranks among Arkansas’ all-time best in games played, games started, wins, minutes, shots faced, saves, goals against average and shutouts.
Keeping the Lady’Backs Close: Carrie Dillsaver was outstanding in Arkansas’ contest with the Baylor Bears during the preseason, making six saves and numerous right calls. Just three minutes into the contest a Baylor player had a near point-blank shot at Dillsaver which she cooly collected, shocking those in attendance. Later in the first she came out on a corner to intercept a cross that was headed toward an unmarked forward, intercepting the pass and keeping the Lady Razorbacks in the contest.
Another Shutout: Slightly overlooked in Arkansas’ 1-0 victory over Tulsa last weekend was Carrie Dillsaver’s fourth career shutout. In 2003 Dillsaver put together a string of three consecutive shutouts midway through the season, could her first in 2004 provide the same spark for the Lady Razorbacks? Only time will tell.
Streaks and Nuances: With just one weekend of action under its belt, it is hard to determine what Arkansas is going to do in certain situations. The Lady’Backs outsot both their opponents, had more corner kicks and ended in a pair of one goal games and the result for Arkansas was a split. The only thing that could emerge so far is that when Arkansas fouled more than its opponent it wins.
Another September to Remember: Last season the Lady Razorbacks came out of the blocks flat to the tune of a 0-2 start, then rebounded in September to go 4-1-2 during the month. This August, Arkansas has a 1-1-0 record, slightly better than 2003, but can the September response be as great, possible, but there are some tough opponents on the slate including a pair of Southeastern Conference foes.
Lone Senior: Jenni Brashear is Arkansas’ lone senior on the active roster in 2004. Hailing from Little Rock, Ark., Brashear has been a four-year starter for the Lady Razorbacks and has played multiple positions. The 2004 season has Brashear at her original position, forward, after spending the past two seasons as a stalwart defender.
Goals When it Counts: Jenni Brashear had a flare for the dramatic during her freshman year when she tallied three goals and an assist. The drama that she caused was usually directed toward Arkansas’ opponents and came in the form of a knife to the gut as she scored two game winners and a game-tying goal. Her first career tally came at the expense of Mississippi State, followed by a pair of knocks against LSU, one to force overtime in the final moments of regulation and the other to win the contest in extra time.
Welcome Back: After missing her during the regular season opener, Arkansas welcomed back Megan McCool for the Tulsa match and she did not disappoint her teammates as she scored the game winning goal. McCool missed Arkansas’ first game after being issued her fifth yellow card in Arkansas’ final game of the 2004 season, an offense that carries over into the following season.
Only 1:19: That’s how long it took Arkansas junior Megan McCool to score in the Lady Razorbacks’ contest with Tulsa on Sunday. The time is the fastest since last season when Julie Williford tallied Arkansas’ first score just 1:14 into Arkansas’ game with Mississippi State on Oct. 10.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were chosen to finish fourth in the western division in the annual Southeastern Conference coaches’ poll which was released on Tuesday, August 24. After tying for third in 2003, Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson felt that the ranking was very fair given the circumstances and hopes to improve on the preseason rankings.
Best Season Since: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 record of 7-10-2 is their best since 1996 when they went 11-7-3. It’s .421 winning percentage was a tad higher than the .404 percentage Arkansas posted in the fall of 2000, but not quite the .595 percentage in 96.
Parallels to 1995: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 season draws an alarming similarity to the 1995 season in which Arkansas posted a 5-13-1 record. In that year, the Lady’Backs opened the year hot at 3-2-1, then won only two of their next 13 games including a nine-game losing streak to end the season. In 2003, Arkansas opened the year 3-3-2 but swooned near the end of the season dropping five consecutive games in conference play.
1996 and 2004: While Arkansas’ 1995 season ended on a sour note, the team rebounded in 1996 to have its best season in Arkansas’ 18-year history. Finishing the season 11-7-3 with a .595 winning percentage, Arkansas posted school records for both wins and percentage on its way to the SEC Western Division Title. Could 2004 be similar to the 1996 season? The seasons began similarly in that both teams opened with a 1-1-0 record.
New Coach: On December 16, 2003, the Lady Razorbacks hired Gordon Henderson as the sixth coach in University of Arkansas women’s soccer history. A native of Scotland, Henderson is the second non-American head coach in the program’s history and has a history of building programs both at North Dakota State and Idaho State. A believer in fitness and quality, Henderson has already had his team running more and working on the little things that make teams go from good to great.
What Henderson Inherits: Asked to turn the fortunes of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer program, Henderson inherits a team that went 7-10-2 and capped off the season with its best record since 1996. He has a solid core of freshmen and sophomores and must evaluate the 19 returning players when spring workouts begin.
Roster Additions: The Lady Razorbacks have added two to the 2004 roster since the media guide was published in late July. Junior Meredith Thompson and freshman Christina Lachut came to the team at the beginning of school and have been working out with the Lady Razorbacks. Some might remember Thompson from her freshman year of 2001 where she played for the Lady Razorbacks but then left the team due to burnout. Lachut is a freshman and assumes the backup goalkeeping duties.
Home Opener: For the third time in four years, the Lady Razorbacks have won their home opener, this time a 1-0 defeat of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Lady Razorbacks are now 10-9 in home openers.