A Rough Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks endured another tough weekend at Alabama and Auburn losing both matches by identical 0-2 scores. The Lady’Backs allowed scores in each half of both contests to move their record to 8-6-1 overall and 1-4-1 in SEC play.
First Alabama Shutouts: Arkansas’ losses to Alabama and Auburn were its first shutout losses to the two squads in the same weekend. In previous years, Arkansas was at least able to manage one score.
Critical Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks face a critical weekend of Southeastern Conference play when they travel to Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Arkansas opens the weekend in Lexington against a Kentucky team that is 0-6-0 in SEC play, then face Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon. All three teams need at least one if not two wins to help them make the SEC Championship Tournament.
Injuries: The Lady Razorbacks have been stricken by injuries all season, but the total increased significantly following the Alabama contest. Already lost for the season were senior defender Sarah Gwisdala and freshman forward Kelly O’Connor with knee injuries as well as freshman midfielder Beth McVean with mono. The Alabama contest may have cost Arkansas the services of freshman midfielder Rachel Carlson (shoulder) and senior defender Allison Harris (ankle).
Possible Returns: Some of Arkansas’ other injuries that could return to the pitch for lengthy times are sophomore Kim Schleif (ankle) and freshman Claire Hakim (nose). Schleif suffered a high ankle sprain against Georgia on Oct. 5 and played just a few minutes in the Alabama contest, but another week of rehab and she could be full go. Hakim was starting at defender before breaking her nose against Missouri St. Hakim also played several minutes against Alabama and should get a clean bill of health before the upcoming weekend.
Weekend Times: It should be pointed out that the Lady Razorbacks will have a strange weekend in terms of times. Opening play in Lexington, Ky., Arkansas’ game time is at 7:00 p.m. eastern, 6:00 p.m. central. The Vanderbilt match, in Nashville, Tenn., is a 1:00 p.m. central tilt.
The Kentucky Wildcats: The Kentucky Wildcats have been a team of streaks this season running hot or cold, but never warm. Opening the year with an undefeated record of 6-0-2, the Wildcats lost all their momentum as SEC play began losing each of their six matches.
Struggling in League Play: To say that Kentucky is struggling would be a tremendous understatement. Kentucky is 0-6-0 in SEC play and has not scored a goal in four matches. Granted, Kentucky’s last four games have been against four ranked opponents, but Kentucky has allowed 11 goals over six SEC games while scoring just two.
Arkansas Against Kentucky: In a case of almost there, Arkansas and Kentucky have played some memorable matches over the past several seasons. The two squads have played one-goal games in each of their last four meetings including two overtime matches. While Kentucky has won eight of the last nine meetings, the Lady Razorbacks have been oh so close, losing in the last seconds on a pair of occasions.
Last Fall: In a match that was postponed from the opening weekend of conference play to the final game of the season, Arkansas played Kentucky to a 1-0 loss despite having already been eliminated from SEC Tournament contention. The Wildcats took the momentum from the win all the way to the SEC Tournament title.
The SEC Standings: With its 1-4-1 conference record and four points the Lady Razorbacks are slotted at fifth in the SEC West. Auburn leads the Western Division with 15 points and a sparking 5-1-0 record. In the east Georgia is the leader with an undefeated 5-0-1 mark while Tennessee sits close behind at 4-1-1.
The Road to Orange Beach: Midway through the conference season, one can begin to figure out what is going on in terms of the SEC Tournament. Arkansas is currently on the outside looking in at ninth place, but faces a critical weekend at Kentucky and Vanderbilt, two teams ranked below the Lady Razorbacks in the overall standings. Depending on what happens this weekend, Georgia and Auburn have a solid chance to clinch their spots in Orange Beach with wins.
The Vanderbilt Commodores: The Vanderbilt Commodores have yet to be able to get on a run of significance this fall as they pick up wins here and there. The Commodores have yet to win back-to-back matches leading to their 4-7-1 overall record and 1-3-1 conference mark. Vanderbilt’s biggest win of the season came when they defeated then #20 Georgia in Athens, Ga., 1-0.
Kinsella and Dennis: Those are the goal scorers for Vanderbilt this fall, Molly Kinsellsa and Sarah Dennis. Kinsella has five scores on the year and Dennis four to make up nearly half of Vanderbilt’s goals this fall.
A Long History: Arkansas has faced Vanderbilt more times than any school in its 21-year history except one (Tulsa). The two teams have 19 career meetings with the first coming during the 1987 season. Vanderbilt has had the upper hand with 12 wins, but since 2002, the Lady Razorbacks hold a 3-2-0 edge and lost the 2006 meeting in double overtime.
Last Fall: The Lady Razorbacks took the early 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal by Christina Burger in the 26th minute. Vanderbilt would tie the match in the 77th then won the game in double overtime on a Monica Buff score 57 seconds into the second overtime period. Vanderbilt dominated the match statistically with 21 shots to Arkansas’ eight, but the Lady’Backs did manage six corner kicks to Vandy’s three.
The Potential for a Third: Britni Williams has the chance to break a third Lady Razorback freshman record this weekend. She is 184 minutes behind Carrie Dillsaver’s freshman mark for minutes played (1549). If either match should go into overtime, assuming that Williams plays both games, she would set her third record of the fall.
Slipping Out: Following a tough road weekend, Britini Williams has fallen outside the top 40 in the nation in both goals against average and save percentage. However, the freshman is still on the radar screen. She is currently ranked 47th in save percentage (0.843) and 48th in goals against average (0.725) and could make her way back into the top 40 with a pair of solid performances this weekend.
SEC Leaders: Britni Williams continues to be amongst the SEC leaders in shutouts this fall with six. She is also among the SEC’s best in goals against average despite allowing four goals last weekend. That is a testament to her phenomenal non-conference work which had her among the nation’s leaders.
Matching a Second: Having already secured the record for shutouts by an Arkansas freshman, Britni Williams matched a second record against Mississippi State by recording her eighth win. She tied the 20-year-old mark of Adrin Pedigo with the victory and has the potential to break all eight of Arkansas’ freshman goalkeeping records by the end of the season.
Williams Named Freshman of the Week: Britni Williams was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week based on her performances against Louisiana Tech and Centenary. Over the weekend she made six saves against 16 shots and did not allow a goal as she claimed her fourth shutout of the season.
Only the Second: Britni Williams is just the second Lady Razorback to earn a Freshman of the Week honor. Abbey Wilburn was the first back in October of 2005.
A Lady Razorback First: In what is quickly becoming a season of firsts for the Lady Razorbacks, Britni Williams made her mark on Arkansas 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.
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.
Working Hard: Lindsay Patterson has been one of the hardest working Lady’Backs this fall and with running mate Kelly O’Connor down for the season, Patterson’s work just increased. In a position that often gets substituted frequently, she played the entire match against Alabama and most of the contest with Auburn.
Game-Tying Strike: The Lady Razorbacks scored the game-tying goal against Tennessee midway through the second half thanks to the play of freshman Ally Atkins and junior Lindsay Patterson. Atkins dribbled deep into Tennessee territory before leaving the ball off for Patterson who left the Lady Vol goalkeeper no chance at a save. Patterson’s goal was the first game-tying strike of the season by a Lady Razorback who has become accustomed to playing out in front.
Tied for the Lead: With her goal against Tennessee, Lindsay Patterson put herself into a tie for the team lead in goals scored this season with six. She matched Kelly O’Connor’s six goals with the effort, but still sits two points behind the freshman because of assists.
The SEC Leader: An interesting point is that Lindsay Patterson is tied for the SEC lead in game-winning goals this fall with three. She has matched the pace of South Carolina’s Danila Monteiro, one ahead of a gaggle of players. Patterson has scored the game-winning goal in Arkansas’ wins against Louisiana Tech, Missouri State and Mississippi State.
The Unsung Hero: Arkansas’ defense has been outstanding all season and there has been no question that the cohesive unit which is the back four is a major reason why. However, analyzing the play of the back four, one always comes to center back Megan Fawley as one of the major factors. Fawley is one of the most consistent players that Arkansas has anywhere on the field and is a tremendous leader in the back for what has become a young group.
Returned from Injury: One of the things people may not know about Megan Fawley is that she saw only sparse minutes as a sophomore due to an achilles injury. A starter for the Lady Razorbacks as a true freshman, she missed most of her sophomore year and returns as a junior with only 23 games experience.
Shutouts Galore: The Lady Razorbacks matched their single-season record for shutouts against Mississippi State when they booked their eighth of the season. Arkansas has recorded eight shutouts two times before, 1991 and 1996 and has nine games left to break the record.
Shutout Minutes: While the streak ended against Mississippi last Friday night, Arkansas set a school record for keeping its opponents off the scoreboard. Over a six-game span, the Lady Razorbacks racked up a streak of 506:53, shattering the old mark of 361:20 which was set over the course of two seasons, 1991 and 1992.
A Lady Razorback Record: It took just 20 seconds for the Lady Razorbacks to get on the scoreboard against Oral Roberts and the quick tally was an Arkansas record for a first goal. Junior Abbey Wilburn nailed a shot from just outside the penalty area that skimmed off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal to give Arkansas a lead and set the record. Prior to Wilburn’s score, the fastest Lady Razorback goal had been 1:00 set by Jessica Fraser back in 1997 against Mississippi State.