A Great Start: The Lady Razorbacks are off to a fabulous start in Southeastern Conference play, going 1-0-1 over the weekend. Arkansas defeated Vanderbilt 2-1, then tied Kentucky 1-1. Sarah Gwisdala was Arkansas’ star scoring two of the three Lady Razorback goals.
First Time Since: Arkansas undefeated SEC opening weekend is the first time a Lady Razorback squad has accomplished the feat since 1995. That year, Arkansas went 2-0 against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Second Time Ever: The Lady’Backs undefeated start in SEC play is just the second time an Arkansas team has opened the conference schedule without a loss in the 10 years of conference play.
Player of the Week: For her efforts on the field this weekend, Arkansas freshman Sarah Gwisdala was named the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. She is just the third Lady Razorback to ever take an SEC soccer athlete of the week honor.
An Elite Group: Sarah Gwisdala’s SEC Offensive Athlete of the Week honor puts her in an elite group of women at Arkansas whom have taken a conference honor. Former Lady’Back Brittany Burns was the first when she earned the title in the fall of 1996. Julie Williford then became the second player in September of 2001 followed by her offensive player of the week in September 2003.
Two Goals: Sarah Gwisdala was named the conference player of the week after she scored two goals over the weekend. Her score in the 84th minute against Vanderbilt proved to be the game winner, her second game-winner of the season and then tallied the first goal in Arkansas’ match with Kentucky which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Leading Scorer: Sarah Gwisdala’s two goal effort on the weekend give her six for the season. Her six goals and 12 points lead the Lady Razorbacks. Should she continue at this pace, Gwisdala could be the first freshman to lead Arkansas in scoring since Amy VanLaecke scored 12 goals and 12 assists for 36 points back in the fall of 1993.
Beating the East: It is never an easy task for a Southeastern Conference Western Division team, but defeating teams in the eastern division is a tall order. Arkansas’ win and a tie against the perennial stronger division is the first time that the Lady Razorbacks have gone through a weekend against the east without a loss.
Live From Mississippi: The Lady Razorbacks made their TV debut last weekend and get to make their first radio appearance on Friday night. Arkansas soccer has been broadcast on the radio since the fall of 2000 and the 2004 season marks the fifth year of broadcasts. Join the Lady’Backs on KXUA in Fayetteville or on the internet at www.ladybacks.com to hear all the action which is to be broadcast by Assistant Communications Director Phil Pierce and University of Arkansas student Wade Parsons.
Four Points: The Southeastern Conference has employed a new system for selection to the SEC tournament and it is points. Earning three points for a win and one for a tie, Arkansas took four points away from the weekend and are now second in the conference’s western division to Auburn who has six. Overall, the Lady Razorbacks are tied for third with Kentucky.
Mississippi State: The Mississippi State Bulldogs opened Southeastern Conference play with a split at home last weekend losing to Tennessee, 3-0, on Friday night, then knocking off Georgia in overtime on Sunday. Overall they are 4-4-1 and have played a top notch schedule which should only help them down the road.
A Mid-Week Match: Thanks to Hurricane Ivan, Mississippi State is set to play Jacksonville State on Tuesday evening in Jackson, Miss. The game originally scheduled for Sept. 17, but the hurricane washed out the contest.
Tough Stretch: Mississippi State’s mid-week contest with Jacksonville State makes this two-week period a tall order for the Bulldogs. They play three matches in five days, then get just two days rest before taking on two SEC teams in three days.
Leading the Way for the Bulldogs: Mississippi State is not an offensive juggernaut in 2004, but they certainly have some playmakers. With 12 goals in nine matches, the Bulldogs are led by junior Betty Ann Casey who has three goals and an assist for seven points on the season.
The Playmaker: ESPN made the term a household name and Mississippi State senior April Berry is attempting to coin the phrase in Starkville. Berry is tied for second in the Southeastern Conference with five assists on the year, one behind the leader Elisabeth Jones of Kentucky.
The Series: Arkansas’ series with Mississippi State has been quite favorable. The Lady Razorbacks are 7-2-0 all-time against the Bulldogs with a perfect 5-0 record at home and a modest 2-2-0 record on the road.
Last Time They Met: The Lady Razorbacks played one of their best games of the season under the lights in Fayetteville in 2003 to take a 4-2 victory away from its match with Mississippi State. In the contest Arkansas took an early lead just 1:14 into the contest when Julie Williford scored, but MSU tied the match at one six minutes later. Megan McCool sent Arkansas into the locker room with a 2-1 lead after a goal in the 31st minute. Kellie Bedient netted the game winner in the 73rd minute before Kristie Holman put the match out of reach in the 75th.
Last Time in Starkville: A stark contrast to Arkansas’ match with the Bulldogs in 2003, the Lady Razorbacks were dominated on a Friday afternoon in Starkville in 2002. In what turned out to be its worst loss to the Bulldogs ever, Arkansas fell 3-0 to the host on a sweltering day. In the contest Mississippi State scored early and never relinquished the lead as they shut out the Lady Razorbacks.
Record Crowd: The crowd at Arkansas’ home opener of 639 is the seventh largest in Lady Razorback history and the benchmark for home openers. The previous best for a home opener was 564 set in 1994 against Mercer.
Averaging 553: Starting off the season on the right foot with a record crowd for a home opener, Arkansas’ winning efforts have seen a boom in attendance. The Lady Razorbacks are averaging 553 patrons per match and have welcomed crowds of 401, 529, 551, 639 and 647 to Lady’Back Field.
Two of the Top 10: What is most impressive about Arkansas’ home crowds is that two of the attendances during the 2004 season are among the Lady’Backs top 10 all-time. The crowd of 647 ranks seventh and 639 ranks eighth.
The Ole Miss Rebels: Like their state rivals, Ole Miss also enters the weekend with a 1-1-0 Southeastern Conference record and are an even 5-5-0 overall. Also taking on top notch talent, the Rebels have been a hot and cold team playing some of their best soccer against good teams, then looking bad against others.
The Early Goal: That is what killed Ole Miss in its match with Tennessee last Sunday afternoon. The Lady Vols took the opening kick and marched down the field with a surgeon’s precision to score the first goal of the match just 10 seconds into the contest. The game would eventually end 2-1.
Breaking Potts: If Arkansas wants to take a win away from Oxford, Miss., it will have to stop Lady Rebel sophomore Brittany Potts. The leading scorer on the Ole Miss roster, Potts has seven goals and two assists on the year for 16 points.
Lots of Goals: Ole Miss likes to score and it does so in bunches. If the Lady Rebels score one, they might just score five. With 20 goals over 10 matches, Arkansas’ defense will be stretched to its limits to stop the Ole Miss attack.
The Arkansas-Ole Miss Series: While Arkansas has dominated the series with Mississippi State, the opposite is true when it comes to the Ole Miss Lady Rebels. Arkansas is a disappointing 2-7-0 against the Lady Rebels and after winning the first two matches in the series, have not beaten Ole Miss since 1995, a seven match losing streak. While most of the matches in the series have been close, one goal games, Ole Miss certainly has Arkansas’ number.
One-Goal Games: Ole Miss and Arkansas have played nine times overall and seven have come down to the final moments with the fans on the edge of their seats. Seven matches between the two clubs have been decided by a single goal.
Last Season: The Ole Miss Lady Rebels came to Fayetteville in the fall of 2003 and put together a tremendous effort to score the largest victory by either club in none meetings, a 4-1 win. After netting the first goal in the 13th minute Ole Miss took control, but only for a moment as Julie Williford scored the equalizer in the 17th minute. The Lady Rebels took a 2-1 lead into halftime, then score a pair of goals in the second half for the win.
Don’t Count Her Out: Arkansas sophomore Christina Burger may have relinquished her goals and points lead to freshman Sarah Gwisdala, but don’t count her out. Burger has four goals this season and could have a fifth if her shot against Kentucky in the closing moments hadn’t pinged off the inside of the post and bounced back into play.
Among the League’s Best: While Sarah Gwisdala is among the top players in the conference thanks to her six goals, Christina Burger is also on the top 10 lists thanks to her four scores and two assists. Burger is tied for ninth in the conference for points, tied for seventh in goals and tied for fourth for shots taken.
Arkansas’ Leading Scorer: With all-time leading scorer Julie Williford having completed her soccer eligibility, the Lady Razorbacks are looking for someone to fill the void and if numbers are what you look to, then Christina Burger could be her replacement. Scoring six goals and two assists in 2003, Burger is Arkansas leading returning scorer and what looks good for the Lady Razorbacks is that she was able to notch her scores from all over the field.
Two Goals in 17 Seconds: It has only been done 17 times before, but Christina Burger scored two goals in 17 seconds against Kentucky to at least tie for 18th on the NCAAs fastest goals scored list. Only the 11th individual to score both goals in that time span, Burger netted her pair in nearly identical fashions from the right side. The NCAA record you might ask, five seconds between goals.
Among the League’s Best: While Arkansas has Sarah Gwisdala and Christina Burger on the Southeastern Conference’s offensive charts, neither rank as high as sophomore Carrie Dillsaver. Dillsaver is third in the conference in goals against average at 1.08, third in saves with 40, and tied for first in shutouts with four.
Make it Seven: Sophomore goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver must like Arkansas’ new system. Her four victories this season have all come on shutouts giving her seven for her career. The feat moved her up to fourth on Arkansas’ all-time shutouts list behind Molly Myers (17.5), Holly Smith (12) and Kerri Reifel (9).
Personal Scoreless Best: In 2003, Carrie Dillsaver produced back-to-back-to-back shutouts and kept her opponents off the scoreboard for a fabulous 295 minutes and 48 seconds. In 2004 she has already approached the mark twice with a streak of 251:13 and her latest run of 264:30. Arkansas’ all-time best you might ask, 361:20 between 1991-92.
Record Setter: Carrie Dillsaver beat out a senior for the starting goalkeeper’s position in 2003 and after doing so, set the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback record for minutes played in goal by a freshman. Ironically, Dillsaver broke the record that had been set four years earlier by the same senior whom she beat out for the starting position.
Already One of Arkansas’ Best: The University of Arkansas has tradition when it comes to soccer, 18 years of tradition and to say that Carrie Dillsaver is already one of the best to play says something. After one season, she ranks among Arkansas’ all-time best in games played, games started, wins, minutes, shots faced, saves, goals against average and shutouts.
Slowly Moving Up the Charts: Carrie Dillsaver is slowly moving up Arkansas career charts. She is now one win away from tying former teammate Megan Bals and former Lady’Back Adrin Pedigo for fifth all-time in wins. She is closing in on Molly Myers career goals against average of 1.33 with an average of 1.60, but needs to produce several more shutouts or one-goal matches to achieve that goal.
Best Non-Conference Season: While just 4-4-0, the Lady Razorbacks are enjoyed one of their best non-conference seasons in several years. The last time that a Lady Razorback team was even or better before conference play began was in 1996.
Best Season Since: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 record of 7-10-2 is their best since 1996 when they went 11-7-3. It’s .421 winning percentage was a tad higher than the .404 percentage Arkansas posted in the fall of 2000, but not quite the .595 percentage in ‘96.
Parallels to 1995: The Lady Razorback’s 2003 season draws an alarming similarity to the 1995 season in which Arkansas posted a 5-13-1 record. In that year, the Lady’Backs opened the year hot at 3-2-1, then won only two of their next 13 games including a nine-game losing streak to end the season. In 2003, Arkansas opened the year 3-3-2 but swooned near the end of the season dropping five consecutive games in conference play.
1996 and 2004: While Arkansas’ 1995 season ended on a sour note, the team rebounded in 1996 to have its best season in Arkansas’ 18-year history. Finishing the season 11-7-3 with a .595 winning percentage, Arkansas posted school records for both wins and percentage on its way to the SEC Western Division Title. Could 2004 be similar to the 1996 season?
The 1996-2004 Prognosis: Looking at the numbers, Arkansas actually has a slight advantage over its 1996 predecessors through 10 matches. The 1996 team was an even 5-5-0 while the 2004 squad has a half-game lead in that they are 5-4-1. The telling tale comes this weekend as the 1996 team won their next two games, both non-conference battles.
Hamilton Gets on the Board: After a freshman year that saw her go scoreless, sophomore Katie Hamilton made up for it against Southern University when she tallied one goal and three assists for five points. The effort is the most points scored by a Lady’Back in a single contest since Julie Williford recorded five against George Mason University on Sept. 21, 2003 with two goals and one assist.
First Points and a Record: Katie Hamilton went 22 games before she scored her first points as a Lady Razorback, but the Plano, Texas, native didn’t waste any time once she got on the board. Contributing three assists in Arkansas’ winning effort against Southern; Hamilton tied the UA record for assists in a single game. Her record matches that of five other Lady Razorback single-game efforts with the last being former Lady’Back Nicole Bynum’s trifecta against Wisconsin-Green Bay on Oct. 1, 1999.
Roster Additions: The Lady Razorbacks have added two to the 2004 roster since the media guide was published in late July. Junior Meredith Thompson and freshman Christina Lachut came to the team at the beginning of school and have been working out with the Lady Razorbacks. Some might remember Thompson from her freshman year of 2001 where she played for the Lady Razorbacks but then left the team due to burnout. Lachut is a freshman and assumes the backup goalkeeping duties.
Getting on the Board First: The Lady Razorbacks are starting to develop a trend in the 2004 season and that is to be successful they must get on the scoreboard first. In all five of its wins, Arkansas was the first to score. In the four losses, the Lady’Backs were forced to play from behind.
Lone Senior: Jenni Brashear is Arkansas’ lone senior on the active roster in 2004. Hailing from Little Rock, Ark., Brashear has been a four-year starter for the Lady Razorbacks and has played multiple positions. The 2004 season has Brashear at her original position, forward, after spending the past two seasons as a stalwart defender.
Coming Through in the Clutch: Jenni Brashear had a flare for the dramatic during her freshman year when she tallied three goals and an assist. The drama that she caused was usually directed toward Arkansas’ opponents and came in the form of a knife to the gut as she scored two game winners and a game-tying goal. Her first career tally came at the expense of Mississippi State, followed by a pair of knocks against LSU, one to force overtime in the final moments of regulation and the other to win the contest in extra time.
You Knew it Would Happen: Well it took three-plus years and her fifth career goal to do it, but Jenni Brashear has finally hit a goal that didn’t mean much, and she did it twice! The Little Rock, Ark., native had a flare for the dramatic in that the first four goals of her career were either game winners or game-tying, but her two scores against Southern only padded Arkansas’ lead breaking her run of significant scores at four.
Widespread Scoring: For the past three seasons Arkansas’ opponents knew to key on Julie Williford, but the 2004 Lady Razorbacks are much more unpredictable. With 21 goals this year, one would think that Arkansas had that one go-to person, but that is certainly not the case. Christina Burger and Sarah Gwisdala have four goals each, but all told 11 Lady Razorbacks have at least one goal and 15 of the 20 active players have at least one point.
First Goals: With such a variety from the scoring department, several Lady Razorbacks have netted their first career goals this season. Freshmen Sarah Gwisdala, Carmen Davis and Ali Harter, sophomores Katie Hamilton, Katie Stauffer and Allison Harris and junior Meredith Thompson can each claim their first collegiate scores. Adding to the menagerie are freshman Becca Davis and sophomore Carrie Dillsaver who notched their first career assists.
Records Against Southern: The Lady Razorbacks set two team and one individual record against Southern University last Sunday afternoon. Their 11-goal effort set the standard for most goals in game and the 11 points was the largest margin of victory by any Lady’Back squad. Individually, sophomore Katie Hamilton tied Arkansas’ all-time record for assists in a game with three.
The Southeastern Conference Lineup: It is another busy week for Southeastern Conference schools as the conference standings continue to take shape. While all 12 western division schools hosted teams from the east last weekend, it is a mixture of the divisions in week two. Ole Miss and Mississippi State host Arkansas and LSU in western division action while Florida and South Carolina welcome Georgia and Tennessee in pivotal eastern division play. Crossing over are Auburn and Alabama who travel to Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
The SEC Preseason Poll: The Lady Razorbacks were chosen to finish fourth in the western division in the annual Southeastern Conference coaches’ poll which was released on Tuesday, August 24. After tying for third in 2003, Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson felt that the ranking was very fair given the circumstances and hopes to improve on the preseason rankings.
Team Captain: For the second straight season junior Andrea Sparks has been named captain of the Lady Razorback soccer team. Assisting her in her duties are vice-captains Christina Burger and Megan McCool.
New Coach: On December 16, 2003, the Lady Razorbacks hired Gordon Henderson as the sixth coach in University of Arkansas women’s soccer history. A native of Scotland, Henderson is the second non-American head coach in the program’s history and has a history of building programs both at North Dakota State and Idaho State. A believer in fitness and quality, Henderson has already had his team running more and working on the little things that make teams go from good to great.
What Henderson Inherits: Asked to turn the fortunes of the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer program, Henderson inherits a team that went 7-10-2 and capped off the season with its best record since 1996. He has a solid core of freshmen and sophomores and must evaluate the 19 returning players when spring workouts begin.
First Goal of the Season: The first goal of the 2004 Lady Razorback soccer season was scored by none other than . . . . Allison Harris. A sophomore defender from Snellville, Ga., Harris connected on a direct free kick from 35 yards to tie the game with Southeast Missouri at one midway through the first half. The goal was the first of Harris’ career and her second points after assisting on one score as a freshman.
Offensive and Defensive: While Allison Harris may be leading the Lady Razorbacks in scoring during the 2004 season, no one is going to confuse her as Arkansas’ main offensive weapon. Harris is too strong as a member of the Lady Razorbacks’ defensive four to get that honor, but any offense she can provide throughout the 2004 season is a bonus for the Lady Razorbacks.
First Goal: Sophomore Katie Stauffer became the second Lady Razorback to score the first goal of her career in 2004 when she netted the game-tying score against Oklahoma. Playing the ball off a free kick from Allison Harris, Stauffer kept the ball low from about three yards and put the Lady Razorbacks in position to win.
Beating Tulsa: It was a long time coming, but Arkansas’ victory over the University of Tulsa was the first time since 1994 that a Lady Razorback squad has defeated the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa had won seven of the past eight contests against Arkansas with the lone non-victory, a 3-3 tie in 1996.