FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team reported to camp on Tuesday morning and after a day of meetings and get togethers, got to work with two tough days of conditioning drills culminating in their first on field training session Thursday evening.
The Lady Razorbacks began Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. with a pair of fitness tests which gauged where Arkansas’ athletes were compared to last spring. A flying 40-yard dash along with a one-mile run led to limited action with a ball on Lady’Back Field. The afternoon session saw Arkansas’ athletes on the training trails as they worked on fitness.
“We’ve had a good two days,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “These young ladies have worked really hard and I admire them for that. I think that the veteran players can see that the recruiting we did last year really paid off and that has motivated them to work harder and then newcomers are trying to prove themselves to the older players making this a great environment to train in.”
The conditioning sessions employed by Henderson and his staff included both land and water based activities that are meant to stimulate not just the major muscle groups, but the minor ones as well. Some of the activities included sprinting in deep water, swimming and interval training in the hills.
Of course, as is the case with any Henderson coached team, the day’s activities would not be complete without team bonding sessions which ended Wednesday’s session.
“There is no comparison between the start of last year and this year,” Henderson said. “This team is in much better shape than they were a year ago and that will help us tremendously in the long run.”
Arkansas ended Thursday with their first real on-field workouts which included both 11-v-11 and 9-v-9 games on a shortened field. While Arkansas’ touch was not in full swing, the players were excited to be on the pitch and that enthusiasm showed as they darted across the field. Several players looked strong including Arkansas’ veteran defenders, but several newcomers also made some waves. Springdale, Ark., native Michelle Hunter made a dazzling save in goal as she went to her left then had to dive back to her right on a deflected ball. Freshman midfielder Abbey Wilburn also looked good in her first days as a Lady’Back.
The Lady Razorbacks continue two-a-day workouts throughout the next week with sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.