Another Weekend Split: For the second straight weekend, the Lady Razorbacks picked up a split, this time against #23 Kansas and Oral Roberts. Losing the first match to Kansas, 1-0, the Lady Razorbacks did not get down as they flew during their home opener to the tune of a 3-0 win. The weekend’s matches put the Lady Razorbacks at 2-2-0 on the season, the same record they had at this point last season.
Feast or Famine: Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks the 2005 season has been feast or famine when it comes to goals. In Arkansas’ two wins it has scored eight times, but in the two losses, the Lady Razorbacks have been shutout.
Scoring Is Up: While Arkansas has only scored in two of its four games, the scoring is up when compared to last season. In four games the Lady Razorbacks have scored eight times and in 2004 it took Arkansas six games to get to eight.
Sageser Makes a Statement: Sophomore transfer Tara Sageser was not a part of Arkansas’ travel squad when it went to Tulsa, Oklahoma or Kansas. She got her first minutes as a starter against Oral Roberts and made the most of it as she scored twice in the 3-0 victory. A first-team all-Mid-Continent Conference and Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year in 2004 when she played for Centenary, if Sageser can strike balls like she did on her second goal of the Oral Roberts match, she could see a lot of minutes as the season progresses.
First Start, First Game: It should be emphasized again that Tara Sageser not only made her first career start as a Lady Razorback on Sunday afternoon, but she also played in her first game!
A First: While it will take some deep digging to make the point concrete, it is believed that Tara Sageser is the first Lady Razorback in 20 years to score two goals in her first match wearing the Cardinal and White. For a fact she is the first going back to the 1994 season, but records prior to then will take some time to recover.
McCool Back in the Swing: After an off year in terms of scoring, senior Megan McCool is back to her old ways. In four games this season she already has two goals and an assist for five points matching her point total from a year ago. Her career high for points in a season is 12 which she scored during her sophomore season on four goals and four assists.
Overshadowed: Had it not been for Tara Sageser’s two goal effort in her first game as a Lady Razorback, Megan McCool would have certainly been the story as she scored Arkansas’ first goal and assisted on the second.
Mississippi Valley State: The Delta Devils enter Friday’s match with a 1-1-0 record following a victory on the road at Nicholls State, then a road loss to Louisiana Tech. The Arkansas match is the third consecutive road game for Mississippi Valley.
Similar to Arkansas: Mississippi Valley State is similar to the Lady Razorbacks this season in that they feast or famine. In their two games they picked up a 3-0 win, then lost 2-0. We’ll have to wait and see which team comes out against Arkansas on Friday.
First Time: The meeting between Arkansas and Mississippi Valley State is the first between the two schools. Arkansas has played other SWAC opponents, but has never faced the Delta Devils.
George Mason: The George Mason Patriots enter the Sunday match with a minimum record of 1-2-0, but play Tuesday night, Sept. 6 against St. Josephs. The Patriots opened the 2005 season on the road in Hawai’i where they took on the Rainbows and BYU, losing both contests by a combined margin of 6-1. George Mason then returned to action on the road at American University and notched a 3-0 win. The Patriots match against St. Josephs is their home opener.
Who to Watch for: When it comes to George Mason, it is the midfield that produces as evidenced by their leading scorer, senior Danielle MacDonald. MacDonald has two of the Patriots three goals on the year and last season scored 11 points on three goals and five assists. Also watch for sophomore forward Sarah Fack who scored five goals in 2004 and has the Patriots only other score in 2005.
The Arkansas-George Mason Series: It isn’t a long series like Tulsa, but a very competitive match up. While Arkansas and George Mason have only met two times over the past four seasons, each has been in the state of Virginia and each school has picked up a shutout. The first meeting was a 4-0 drubbing by the Patriots on William & Mary’s field in Williamsburg, Va., then two seasons later, Arkansas went to Mason and handed them a 3-0 loss.
Last Time They Met: The last meeting between Arkansas and George Mason was a memorable one in that the Lady’Backs picked up a massive road win, 3-0, in Fairfax, Va. Former Lady Razorback Julie Williford had two goals and an assist and Megan McCool scored once and assisted on another to lead Arkansas to victory. Statistically, the Lady Razorbacks dominated the shot category, out shooting their opponent 21-13.
The SEC Standings: Two weeks into the 2005 women’s soccer season and the Lady Razorbacks are third in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division with a 2-2-0 record. Arkansas is one of eight SEC schools with a .500 record or better which is surprisingly absent of such schools as Tennessee and Auburn, schools that were picked during the preseason to lead the SEC.
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.
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.
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.
Where She Stands Now: Thanks to another great weekend for Carrie Dillsaver and the Lady Razorbacks, the career goalkeeping categories creep steadily closer to Dillsaver. She started her 40th career game (fourth), notched her 14th win (fifth), faced her 476th shot (fifth), made her 193rd save (fifth), dropped her goals against average to 1.62 (second) and recorded her ninth shutout (third).
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.
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, 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.
The Defense Holds Strong: While it is only four games into the season, Arkansas’ defense has taken some hits already as half of its starting four are sidelined with injuries. Senior Andrea Sparks and junior Allison Harris have each had to sit down with knee injuries forcing the Lady Razorbacks to place less experienced players in the middle, but each has faired very well considering their situation.
Injury Update: The Lady Razorbacks were without the services of sophomore forward Sarah Gwisdala for their opening weekend road trip but got her back on the field against Oral Roberts. Gwisdala suffered a second-degree sprain of her right ankle in the Baylor preseason contest. Senior defender Andrea Sparks may miss another two weeks of action for the Lady’Backs as she underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in her left knee. Junior defender Allison Harris is currently awaiting the results of an MRI on her right knee to determine the severity of an injury suffered during training.
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.
Newcomers Getting Plenty of Time: The Lady Razorback newcomers are seeing plenty of action this fall as all eight have seen the field at one point or another and four have made starts. Abbey Wilburn and Megan Fawley have each started all four Lady Razorback contests with Leah Collison and Tara Sageser each getting one start.
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 four regular season matches.
The SEC Coaches Poll: The SEC Coaches poll was released 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.
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.