A Weekend Split: The Lady Razorbacks split their opening weekend series against Tulsa and Oklahoma as they picked up a 5-1 win over the Golden Hurricane before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Sooners. Arkansas looked solid on Friday, but a step slow on Sunday afternoon.
Not a Bad Opener: If you had told the Arkansas coaching staff that they would split their opening weekend on the road prior to the season, they would have been happy. If you told them they would win the first match 5-1, they would have been ecstatic. Of course, as with all things, following the first win, the entire Arkansas team wanted to pick up an opening weekend sweep, but a 1-0 start to the season was just fine.
Opening at 1-0: The Lady Razorback’s victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane last Friday night was the first time since the 2000 season that the Lady Razorbacks opened the season with a win and the first time since 1998 that they accomplished the task on the road.
The Tulsa Star: There were many stars during the Tulsa match, but the one that stands out is sophomore forward Alison Harter who more than doubled her career point output with two goals and an assist against the Golden Hurricane. Coming off the bench for Arkansas, Harter’s speed up top allowed her to dart past the Tulsa defense and create several good scoring opportunities. She connected on a pair of those and set up Arkansas’ last goal by taking a throw in from Whitney Allison and two-touching it to Katie Hamilton who fired it into the net.
From Four to Nine: As a freshman Alison Harter scored two goals and racked up four points in 15 games. As a sophomore she already has two goals and an assist for five points in just two games. She went from four points as a freshman to nine as a sophomore and there is still a long way to go.
Not to be Forgotten: Not to be forgotten in the Tulsa match was junior forward Christina Burger who got the Lady Razorbacks started on the right foot with a goal and two assists. Burger assisted on Megan McCool’s fourth minute goal, then created one of her own in the 19th minute on a superlative individual effort. Burger then assisted Alison Harter on her first goal in the 64th minute to ice the game.
What a Play: Christina Burger showed the Tulsa crowd why she is so highly thought of in Lady Razorback circles when she made perhaps the play of the game in the 19th minute. Taking a feed from Katie Stauffer inside the center circle, Burger raced down the middle of the field with the ball, taking on two Tulsa defenders, while drifting slightly left. She then took a shot from inside the penalty area that crossed the box and into the far corner of the net. The entire play took no longer than 10 seconds, but the effort put forth by Burger was nothing short of exceptional.
On the Road Again: Arkansas opens its 2005 season with three straight road matches and the third happens on Friday night when the Lady’Backs take on the defending Big 12 regular season champion Kansas Jayhawks. Following the opening stretch, Arkansas gets to spend the next three games at home.
The Kansas Jayhawks: The defending Big 12 regular season champion Kansas Jayhawks had a rough start to their 2005 season when they tied Michigan in their opener, 1-1, then lost to #25 Wisconsin 3-2 in overtime last weekend. Winless, Kansas will certainly be looking for redemption at home, the same site as their first two matches.
Smith Leads the Charge: Despite a loss and a tie to open the season, Kansas already has a gun to worry about in Caroline Smith. The senior tallied two of the three Jayhawk goals on the weekend, one in each game. Her first tied the Michigan match at one in the 59th minute when she hit a 10-yard shot to the far side of the goal, while the second was a six-yard effort that was deflected by the defense, but not cleared and skirted into the net.
The Series: In three career meetings the Arkansas-Kansas series is remarkably even. Each team has won one of the games and the two teams tied the third. The first meeting came during the 1996 season which Arkansas won 4-0 in Fayetteville. The next match came the following year in 1997 in Lawrence and the two teams tied 2-2. The last time the two teams met was in 2002 and Kansas emerged with a 3-2 victory to even out the all-time record.
Last Time they Met: It was Sept. 13, 2002 and the Lady Razorbacks hosted the up and coming Kansas Jayhawks in Fayetteville. Kansas got on the scoreboard early with a Caroline Smith goal in the sixth minute, but that would be the only score of the first half. Kansas looked determined again as the second period began as they tallied their second just 1:10 into the period. Unwilling to give up, Arkansas came storming back with two Julie Williford goals in the 61st and 72nd minute to tie the game at two. Kansas’ Caroline Smith crushed the Lady’Back hopes of a come-from-behind win in the 88th minute when she hit a two-yard open net shot for the Jayhawks third goal.
First Ranked Opponent: The Lady Razorbacks get their first taste of elite competition when they face Kansas on Friday night. The Jayhawks were ranked as high as 21st in the Soccer America preseason poll and held rankings in all the polls. They were also ranked sixth in the central region.
Oral Roberts: Following a cancelled match on Friday night, Oral Roberts opened their season on Sunday afternoon against Texas State and picked up a 3-2 win. In the contest, Jessica Kellogg became the Mid-Continent Conference career leader in points as the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early lead to hold on for the victory.
Kellogg is the Key: The catalyst for Oral Roberts is the play of senior forward Jessica Kellogg. With two assists last Sunday afternoon, Kellogg set the Mid-Continent Conference record for career points. As a junior, the Tulsa, Okla., native scored 18 points and had three assists for 39 points.
Series Record: The Lady Razorbacks have been quite successful against Oral Roberts over the years as they own a 6-2-0 career record against their cross-border opponent. During those eight matches, Arkansas has held Oral Roberts to just five goals while scoring 26 of their own. Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks Oral Roberts got the upper hand last fall as they notched a 1-0 win in Tulsa.
Last Season: The Lady Razorbacks dropped a tough 1-0 decision to Oral Roberts in the 2004 meeting. Jessica Kellogg scored the game’s lone goal in the 30th minute when she took a feed from Nicole Bucelluni and deposited it into the net.
A Near Shutout: Senior goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver looked impressive in Arkansas’ opening game against Tulsa as she made four saves and picked off several crosses through the box. Unfortunately for Dillsaver and the Lady Razorbacks, a defensive lapse in the 76th minute allowed a scorching shot from outside the penalty area that went in preventing the blanking.
A Rock in Goal: The Lady Razorbacks have been blessed throughout the years with solid goalkeeping and that trend continues with senior Carrie Dillsaver. A three-year starter, Dillsaver has been integral to Arkansas’ success and her ability to come up with the big save is known throughout the league. Over the past two seasons, Dillsaver has started all 36 games she has played in and tallied a staggering 1.66 goals against average.
Moving Up the Charts: Unless the Lady Razorbacks have a year that will be remembered by the nation, Carrie Dillsaver may not eclipse all the Lady Razorback goalkeeping records, but her three-year assault on them will take her awfully close. Dillsaver is currently ranked between two and six on all the Lady Razorback career charts and has a chance to break most of the records with another year like she has displayed.
And it Begins: Carrie Dillsaver’s ascent to the top of Arkansas’ career goalkeeping categories began in Arkansas’ first match of the season as she notched her 13th career win to place herself alone in fifth place all-time. Her 38th start against Oklahoma placed her in a tie for fourth on the games started list. It may take a couple games for Dillsaver to reach her next milestones, but we will certainly keep you informed.
Setting Records: While Carrie Dillsaver continues to move up the Arkansas career charts, she is also locked into a few Lady Razorback records. She has six Arkansas class records including minutes played as a freshman and sophomore, goals against average, and shutouts and starts as a sophomore.
The Backbone: The Lady Razorbacks have assembled a strong defensive unit that has played together for two seasons and during that time has accumulated more than 144 starts between the four players. Seniors Andrea Sparks and Katie Taylor are assisted by juniors Allison Harris and Devon Burger to anchor the back for Arkansas and adding in senior Carrie Dillsaver in goal and you have five starters that have seen almost everything opposing offenses can throw at them.
Proof of a Solid Defense: The proof of Arkansas’ defensive prowess is its ability to keep balls out of the net. In 2003 the Lady Razorbacks allowed 42 goals. The 2004 squad allowed a mere 28 for a 33% improvement. Could the 2005 team be even better? Only time will tell.
Not Bad for a First Timer: Freshman Megan Fawley patiently waited for her turn on the field in Arkansas’ exhibition match with Baylor. Her rotation on the field probably came into question as she did not see any action for the first half. Starting in the second, Fawley was fresh and ready to give everything she had and the result was the game-winning goal with 4:37 to play.
Megan of all Trades: First there was the term Jack-of-all-trades, now its Megan-of-all trades. After her preseason goal against Baylor as a forward/midfielder, Arkansas’ coaching staff moved her to defender to fill a hole and the Richardson, Texas, native was up to the task as she played nearly every moment of each of Arkansas’ first two regular season matches.
The SEC Coaches Poll: The SEC Coaches poll was released last week and the Lady Razorbacks were picked to finish sixth in the Western Division and 10th overall. Picking up 21 points, Arkansas is just behind LSU and Mississippi State who have 24 and 23, respectively.
A Preseason Win: The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team was playing its best soccer in several years last Saturday night as it picked up a 1-0 victory over Baylor in an exhibition game at Lady’Back Field. Freshman Megan Fawley scored the game winner with just four minutes to play as 17 Lady Razorbacks contributed to the cause. Fawley’s goal came off a Christina Burger assist as she darted into the penalty area with the ball, then dished to Fawley who knocked a shot off the keeper and into the goal.
Defense Looks Solid: The Lady Razorbacks knew coming into the season that their defense would be the strongest part of their game and that showed in Arkansas’ exhibition match as it allowed only six shots with just one making its way to the keeper. The Lady Razorback defensive unit of senior captain Andrea Sparks, senior Katie Taylor and juniors Devon Burger and Allison Harris never looked pressured throughout the contest despite several spirited attacks by the Bear offense.
A Strong Class: The Lady Razorbacks got off to a good start in 2005 when their recruiting class was ranked for the first time by SoccerBuzz, an online women’s soccer magazine. Coming in at 14th in the central region and 54th overall, Arkansas’ coaches are excited to see what their newcomers will add to the field of play this fall.