What a Home Opener: The Lady Razorbacks opened their 2006 home schedule with a pair of victories to bring their overall record to 3-1-0 on the year. Friday night witnessed Arkansas post its first shutout of the season against Northeastern State, then Arkansas upset 2005 NCAA tournament team Liberty on Sunday afternoon.
Best Start Since: With a 3-1-0 record, the Lady Razorbacks are off to their best start since the 1993 season when they also opened 3-1-0. Since the ‘93 season, Arkansas has had six 2-2-0 records, four 1-3-0 records and one 0-3-1 mark.
The 1993 Season: Arkansas’ 3-1-0 start during the 1993 season led to an eventual 10-10-0 record. The Lady Razorbacks were smoking to start the year losing their first match to Washington State, then rattling off four straight wins to equal their longest winning streak ever. Arkansas would eventually make its record 6-2 before a four-match losing streak brought their record even.
Lady Razorback Invitational: This weekend is the Lady Razorback Invitational with Alabama A&M, Louisiana Tech and Missouri State all coming to Lady’Back Field. Alabama A&M open the schedule with Missouri State on Friday at 4:30 p.m. followed by Arkansas-Louisiana Tech at 7. Sunday calls for La. Tech and Missouri State to meet at 11 a.m. with Arkansas facing Alabama A&M at 1:30 p.m.
She’s Back: It’s hard to keep a good woman down and after going scoreless in Arkansas’ opening weekend; Christina Burger came back with a vengeance in the second weekend of play with two goals and an assist for five points. She went from nowhere to tops in the 2006 statistics, a place she has been for the past two seasons.
Another Game Winner: A late goal by Liberty University led the way for Christina Burger to record her fifth game-winning goal of her career and first of the season. The goal moved Burger into a tie for fourth on Arkansas’ all-time list for game-winning scores with former Lady’Backs Denise Brown (1992-94) and Betsy Coverdale (1991-94). Next on Burger’s radar screen is Ruthie Miller (1989-92) with eight.
Christina Burger: The most recognizable name on the Lady Razorback roster has to be Christina Burger. Arkansas’ most dangerous offensive threat, Burger has made her name thanks to her speed and ability to move around the pitch. She entered the 2006 season ranked 10th on the Lady Razorback’s all-time points and sixth on the goals scored charts and could break into the top five with another solid season.
Second-Team All-SEC: Thanks to her outstanding 2005 season in which she was third in the SEC in goals scored, Christina Burger was named second-team all-SEC, her first conference honor and just the 10th in Lady Razorback history.
Louisiana Tech: Louisiana Tech was on a roll, opening the season with three straight wins, but suffered its first loss against Southern Mississippi last Sunday afternoon. Pouring in 13 goals over their first three games, the Bulldogs were shutout against the Golden Eagles to the tune of 4-0.
First Meeting: Arkansas and Louisiana Tech have never played each other in women’s soccer and the 2006 meeting could be an interesting one. The Bulldogs are an experienced road team with three of their first four games away from home and should be ready to compete in the hostile Fayetteville environment.
Leading the Way: Louisiana Tech is getting offensive production from several sources, but their most dangerous threats are Emily Cleaveland and Brook Kelly who have combined for seven of the team’s 13 scores. In the Bulldogs game against Prairie View A&M, each netted two scores to pace the Bulldogs to a 4-1 victory. Also joining in on the scoring fun is Denise Wilson who scored a hat trick against Nichols State in a 7-0 win.
SEC Ties: Arkansas’ game against Louisiana Tech is certainly not going to be a cake walk. The Bulldogs are led by third-year head coach Jennifer Burns, who before getting married was Jennifer Soileau and killed the Lady Razorbacks as a member of the Ole Miss Lady Rebel soccer team.
The SEC Standings: Two weeks into the season and the Lady Razorbacks are still among the league’s elite in terms of overall record at 3-1-0. Auburn is the only undefeated team in the conference and is first in the western division with Arkansas and LSU tied for second at 3-1-0. In the east, Georgia is the division’s top squad at 2-1-0 followed by Florida, 2-1-1, Kentucky and South Carolina, 2-2-0.
Alabama A&M: The Alabama A&M Bulldogs are another team that is enjoying success in the early going of the 2006 season with a 3-1-0 overall record. Opening the season with a pair of 1-0 victories on the road at the South Florida Tournament, the Bulldogs got their first taste of defeat on the road at Middle Tennessee State, 4-1. Rebounding nicely on their home opener, the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina State, 6-0.
Another First for Arkansas: It will be a weekend of firsts for the Lady Razorbacks as they face Alabama A&M for the first time ever on Sunday afternoon. Arkansas did travel to Alabama A&M last season, but played Southern and Grambling in Huntsville rather than the host squad.
Many Scorers: Alabama A&M has been getting goals from everywhere as evidenced by their six goal scorers and only eight goals scored. Alberta Annan netted a hat trick against South Carolina State in the team’s home opener, but otherwise it has been a one goal a piece for the other Bulldogs.
A Three-Match Winning Streak: We already mentioned what could potentially be on the line should Arkansas pick up a win against Louisiana Tech on Friday in the 1993 notes, but we should also point out that the last time the Lady Razorbacks won three straight as they have currently was 2003 when they defeated George Mason, Drury and Vanderbilt.
Three Straight at Home: It has been a while since the Lady Razorbacks last won three straight matches on their home surface. In fact, you have to go back to the 2000 season when Arkansas defeated Drury University, Auburn, Alabama and Mercer for four straight wins.
Five: While we are at it, we should also mention that Arkansas’ longest undefeated stretch on its home surface in a single season is five matches which it has done twice over the past 20 years. The first time was in 2000 when Arkansas tied Georgia, then defeated Drury, Auburn, Alabama and Mercer. The second instance was in 2003 when the Lady Razorbacks defeated Oral Roberts, then tied William & Mary and Old Dominion, before defeating Drury and Mississippi State.
The First to Go: Carrie Dillsaver’s season is off to a tremendous start in 2006 and because of that she is quickly approaching the Lady Razorback career goalkeeping numbers. Her nine saves this season already moved her into fourth place on the all-time saves chart and after Friday night she will be Arkansas’ all-time leader in minutes played. In the 22nd minute of Arkansas match with Louisiana Tech, Dillsaver will eclipse the marks of Molly Myers who played 5,334 minutes between 1989 and 1992.
For the Media: Just in case you want a quick reference, the 22nd minute of action will be when the scoreboard clock reads 23 minutes to play in the first half.
The Next Record: The next record that Carrie Dillsaver could break is the games started mark which, if all remains normal, will be at Memphis on Sept. 17. That game could see a pair of records fall if Arkansas remains on its hot streak with the career wins mark going on the same night. Dillsaver is currently three starts and wins behind Arkansas’ career leaders.
The Actual Numbers: Some of the records are posted to the left, but for quick reference on each of the Arkansas career numbers, here they are:
|Games Played:||63 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||58|
|Games Started:||61 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||58|
|Wins:||24 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||21|
|(Kerri Reifel, 1991-94)|
|Minutes:||5,334 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||5,313|
|Shots Faced:||798 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||701|
|Saves:||403 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||263|
|Goals Against Average:||1.33 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||1.59|
|Shutouts:||17.5 (Molly Myers, 1989-92)||12|
Carrie Dillsaver: In 2005, Carrie Dillsaver was considered a senior by her coaches and teammates as she was scheduled to graduate with her nursing degree in May of 2006, despite the fact that she redshirted her true freshman season and was on her third actual season of playing. She indeed received her bachelor’s degree last May, but the call of the soccer pitch was too great for the Claremore, Okla., native and she chose to delay her professional career by six months in order to play her final season of eligibility with the Lady Razorbacks.
The Assist Leader: She’s at it again and this time sophomore Abbey Wilburn isn’t wasting any time. As a freshman Wilburn led the Lady Razorbacks in assists with six over 18 games. In four games in 2006, Wilburn has four assists and is on pace, although it is certainly early in the season, to challenge if not break Arkansas’ all-time single-season assist record of 12 set two times.
The Sophomore Record: The sophomore class record for assists in a single season is not one to take lightly. It is held by Arkansas’ all-time career assists leader Holly Collins who was on the front end of nine Lady Razorback goals during the 1999 season.
SEC Leader: Four games into the 2006 season and we should point out that Abbey Wilburn is currently tied with Mississippi’s Chrissy Strini as the conference leader in assists. Each has four helpers and an average of one assist per match.
Smith Makes a Mark: While we are on the subject of assists, we should also mention freshman Rachel Smith who has contributed to three Lady Razorback goals this season and is just one assist behind her teammate Abbey Wilburn. Arkansas’ starting left defensive back, Smith has been a force both on the attack and on corner kicks.
Tied for Third: With her three assists this season, Rachel Smith is tied for third in the Southeastern Conference in the category. One behind her teammate for the team and conference lead, Smith is tied for third in both total assists and assists per game.
Scoring First: In four matches this season, Arkansas has been the aggressor and to prove it, you only have to look at one stat, first goals. The Lady Razorbacks have scored the first goal in each match they have played in this season putting pressure on opposing teams to match Arkansas’ efforts.
Playing From Behind: Thanks to its four consecutive matches with the game’s first score, the Lady Razorbacks have been ahead for most of their playing time this year. In fact, Arkansas has only played 6:23 of 370 total minutes down by a score.
The New Class: To say that Arkansas’ 2006 freshman class is shaking things up would probably not be much of an overstatement. Five new Lady Razorbacks started in the Oral Roberts exhibition match and eight of the 10 played, two missed the match to injury. Since that game, at least three freshmen have been in the starting lineup and five were in the season opener against Missouri State.
Martin Nets a Pair: Freshman Kelsey Martin didn’t allow the fact that she started both of Arkansas’ opening weekend matches on the sideline to bother her. She still did her part and that included a pair of goals against Southeastern Louisiana.
First Since: Kelsey Marin’s two-goal effort against Southeastern Louisiana is the first two-goal match by a Lady Razorback since Christina Burger netted a pair against LSU in the final match of the 2005 season.
First Freshman Since: While it wasn’t so long ago that a Lady Razorback scored two goals in one game, it stands to note that Kelsey Martin is the first Arkansas freshman to score two goals in a game since Sarah Gwisdala accomplished the fact against Southern University on Sept. 12, 2004, in an 11-0 Arkansas rout.
The Arkansas Broadcasting Schedule: Lady Razorback soccer is scheduled to be all over the world as its internet broadcasts begin for the second straight season. On the agenda are a variety of different broadcasts including audio only, video only and the combined audio-video matches. The first broadcast of the season takes place on Friday night when the Lady’Backs play Northeastern State. Scheduled to be a full audio-video contest, the match is one of four of its kind this season. There are five radio/audio broadcasts scheduled along with five video only matches.
Lady’Back of the Match: The Lady Razorbacks started a new tradition in 2006 when it began to incorporate the Lady’Back of the Match into its home schedule. Chosen by the Arkansas coaching staff, the Lady’Back of the Match is awarded to the Lady Razorback who plays the best game despite what the stat sheet says. The Lady’Back of the Match is also being incorporated into game promotions.
Injuries: Following a rash of injuries to start the season, the Lady Razorbacks appear to be in much better health than they were just a few weeks ago. Those that continue to be sidelined include Megan Fawley (foot), Katie Stauffer (back), Sarah Finn (knee) and Jackie Booker (knee).