Another Good Weekend: Despite the record, the Lady Razorbacks had a very good weekend. Playing 21st-ranked Georgia and sixth-ranked Tennessee, the Lady Razorbacks went 0-1-1, but did grab a very valuable point against two of the SEC’s best.
A Historic Tie: Arkansas’ tie against #6 Tennessee last Sunday afternoon was a historic day in Lady Razorback soccer history. It was the first result against a ranked team in more than 14 years, and the first result against a team ranked among the National Soccer Coaches of America Association’s (NSCAA) top 10.
Great Results Considering: One of the most amazing things about Arkansas’ results this weekend is that they did it without a full complement of players. On the sideline for extended periods of time or whole games included seniors Alison Harter and Sarah Gwisdala, sophomore Kim Schleif and freshmen Rachel Carlson, Beth McVean and Kelly O’Connor.
Upcoming: The Southeastern Conference action continues with Arkansas’ first set of road matches at Alabama and 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 Alabama Crimson Tide: The Lady Razorbacks get to face the Alabama Crimson Tide under the lights of its new stadium for the first time on Friday night. Alabama enters the match with an identical record to Arkansas at 8-4-1 overall and 1-2-1 in SEC action. The Crimson Tide opened SEC play with a tie against Vanderbilt, 1-1, and a good win against Kentucky, 2-1, before dropping both matches last weekend to Mississippi State and Mississippi by a combined 6-1.
Great at Home: The Crimson Tide is coming off a piar of losses, but both were on the road where Alabama has struggled. At home, the Crimson Tide is very good with a record of 5-2-1. Alabama’s two home losses came against Kennesaw State, 3-2, and Memphis, 2-0.
The All-Time Series: The Alabama Crimson Tide used to have a strangle hold on the Lady Razorbacks, but that changed in 1999 when Arkansas earned its first win. After opening the series mark at 0-5-1, the Lady Razorbacks have won five of the past eight meetings to bring their overall record to 5-8-1. Arkansas has also won the past two meetings with Alabama and is going for their school record third straight on Friday night.
Last Fall: In a strange game last fall, the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks earned a convincing 5-0 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lady’Back Field. A strange result when looking at the all-time series, Arkansas was able to capitalize several times on crosses inside the penalty area and took its most lopsided victory in 14 career meetings.
The SEC Standings: This weekend is a crucial one for every team in the SEC and their place in the conference rankings. The action this weekend could separate the haves and the have-nots. Currently the Lady Razorbacks are tied for fourth in the SEC West but tied for sixth overall in the conference rankings with four points. The Lady Razorbacks are tied with Alabama and are behind Mississippi, Auburn and LSU. In the east, Georgia leads the way with 10 points followed by Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida.
The Auburn Tigers: One of the best in the Southeastern Conference and a border-line top 25 team, the Auburn Tigers enter the weekend with an overall record of 7-3-1 and are 3-1- 0 in SEC play. Auburn opened the year with a struggle at a tournament in Hawai’i, but since then is 7-2-0 and are undefeated at home with five wins, including two SEC victories over Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
King holds the Key: One of the major assets to the Auburn attack is Caitlin King who has three goals and five assists on the year. King also has two of Auburn’s game winning goals and is a presence wherever she roams on the field. King is also not shy about shooting either as she leads the team with 33 shots, 21 on face.
Arkansas vs. Auburn: After holding an edge in the all-time series early, Auburn has come storming back to grab a 7-5-2 mark against the Lady Razorbacks. Before Arkansas earned a very good 0-0 tie with the Tigers in 2006, Auburn had taken five straight from the Lady Razorbacks.
The 2006 Match: There isn’t a whole lot to report from Arkansas match with Auburn in 2006. The game ended in a 0-0 tie and was dominated by the defenses. Former Lady’Back goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver had a solid game in goal and the Lady’Backs ended a five-match winning streak by Auburn over Arkansas.
Still Ranked: In the fourth installment of NCAA rankings, Arkansas’ Britni Williams still finds herself among the nation’s best. Williams is currently ranked 23rd in the nation in save percentage at .879 and 24th in the nation in goals against average at .532. This is the third consecutive week Williams has found herself among the nation’s top 25 in both categories.
Tops in the SEC: While Britni Williams is a national leader in both goals against average and save percentage, she is also tops in the SEC shutouts. Williams’ six shutouts this fall place her in a tie with LSU’s Valerie Vogler for tops in the league. Williams is also percentage points behind Mississippi’s Megan Vickery in goals against average as both have a mark of 0.53.
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.
Injury Report: The Lady Razorbacks have been struck by the injury and illness bug as of late and because of that have taken a page out of the National Football League’s handbook. Players that are out for the weekend include Sarah Gwisdala (knee), Kelly O’Connor (knee) and Beth McVean (illness). On the questionable list is Kim Schleif (ankle) and probable include Claire Hakim (nose) and Camille Flores (ankle). Alison Harter and Rachel Carlson who were dealing with their own illnesses last weekend are scheduled to play.
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.
Game-Winning Assist: Rachel Smith was credited with the game-winning assist in Arkansas’ victory over Mississippi State. Taking a free kick from just outside the 18, Smith’s shot hit the keeper in the hands and bounced off leading to the goal.
On the Scoreboard: Sophomore Rachel Smith made personal history last Sunday afternoon against Memphis when she scored the first goal of her collegiate career. Striking a 22-yard shot through the hands of the Memphis goalkeeper and into the side netting, Smith had played more than 1,700 minutes over two seasons before the score.
Lady’Back of the Match: Interestingly, in eight home matches this fall, Arkansas has had eight different Lady’Backs of the Match. Rachel Smith was the latest to take the honor thanks to superb play in the back to preserve a 1-1 tie with sixth-ranked Tennessee.
Final Weekend on KXUA: Arkansas’ games against Alabama and Auburn are its final matches on local radio station KXUA, 88.3 FM, until the SEC Tournament in November. Broadcast times are five minutes prior to game time.
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.
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.
National Rankings: The Lady Razorbacks are ranked among the nation’s best in several categories this fall. Among those are goals against average, save percentage and shutout percentage. Arkansas’ highest rank is a tie for 16th in goals against average at 0.513. Close behind is its ranking for shutout percentage (17th, .615) and save percentage (18th, .883).
Leading the Team: It has been a fun battle between freshman Kelly O’Connor and junior Lindsay Patterson to see who will score more goals this fall. So far, O’Connor has the edge. She scored her fifth against Ole Miss, and then nailed her sixth against Mississippi State. She also added an assist against State to give her six goals and three assists on the fall for 15 points.
Getting Ahead: The Lady Razorbacks have done a fantastic job of getting ahead of their opponents this fall. In 13 matches, Arkansas has scored the first goal 10 times. The result is an 8-4-1 record and constant pressure on the opposition to play from behind.