First Win: The Lady Razorbacks picked up their first Southeastern Conference win of the season when they defeated Mississippi State University on Friday, Sept. 30. Taking the contest, 1-0, Arkansas looked solid on defense and were able to pepper the Mississippi State goal with nine shots on face compared to just three from the bulldogs.
Another Weekend Split: It seems repetitive, but Arkansas picked up their fourth weekend split of the season in their weekend affair with Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Taking the Friday night match 1-0, Arkansas fell to Ole Miss by the same score on Sunday afternoon despite an inspired first-half performance.
Oh So Close: You can’t come much closer than the Lady Razorbacks did on Sunday afternoon to taking the lead and applying pressure to a top quality team. Arkansas nearly took a 1-0 lead twice in the first half of their match against Ole Miss, but their first opportunity hit the post and their second was saved on the goal line by a defender. If Arkansas was able to secure the first goal of the match, there is no telling what might have happened.
Burger Nets Third Game Winner: Junior Christina Burger has a knack for the important goals and that has shown itself this year. Of her four scores this season, three have won games for the Lady Razorbacks including her score against Mississippi State. Her third game-winner of the season places her in a seven-way tie for fifth on Arkansas’ all-time list for a single season.
First Game Winners: Christina Burger has three game-winning goals this season and has had some big goals over her first two years, but interestingly, she had never tallied a game winner until her score against Tulsa to open the 2005 season. Prior to 2005, Burger had scored two game-tying goals which tie her for 10th on Arkansas’ all-time list.
First Multi-Goal Game Since: Christina Burger’s two-goal effort against Southeastern Louisiana matched her career high for goals in a game and was the first time she has accomplished the feat since Oct. 5, 2003 when she netted two goals in 17 seconds against the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Leading Scorer: Christina Burger continues to lead the Lady Razorbacks in scoring this season as she has now tallied four goals and three assists for 11 points. The leading returning scorer in each of the past two seasons, Burger tied Arkansas’ top scorers against Liberty with an assist, then reclaimed the top scoring spot with her first goal against Southeastern.
Only the Fourth: Christina Burger’s goal against Mississippi State was not only the game winner that Arkansas needed, but it was also historic as it made Burger just the fourth Lady Razorback in their 20-year history to post 10 points in a season for three consecutive seasons.
A Tough Weekend: The Lady Razorbacks have their hands full this weekend when they host SEC eastern division foes, Tennessee and Georgia. Tennessee enters the match ranked 23rd in the nation while Georgia has received votes in some of the national polls and is a fixture in the Southeast regional rankings.
The Tennessee Lady Volunteers: The two-time defending SEC Champion Tennessee Lady Vols are one of the elite programs in the country and while they have shown some cracks in their armor from years past are still a very good team. Owning a 6-4-1 overall record, Tennessee has been brilliant as of late, winning their past five matches including all four SEC contests.
Tough Schedule: A look at Tennessee’s record and you would think that the Lady Vols are struggling mightily, but a close look reveals much more. The Lady Vols opened the 2005 season against #1 and perennial national champion North Carolina, then dropped a tough match to Washington State in overtime. Tennessee’s next four matches were against top 25 schools, two of which were on the road and a third at a neutral site.
Arkansas Versus Tennessee: Following a win in 1996, Arkansas has been dominated by the Lady Vols as they have dropped the last five decisions to Tennessee. Last season, the Lady Vols were a step quicker and easily took a 3-1 victory in Knoxville, while the year before, they pummeled the Lady Razorbacks into a 4-0 loss in Fayetteville.
Last Season: Arkansas’ 2004 match with the then seventh-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols was not pretty from Arkansas’ side of the field. While Tennessee only took 14 shots in the contest, it capitalized on three making Christina Burger’s late score a nice touch but otherwise unhelpful. The Lady Vols scored twice in the opening half, then again just as the second began to secure their victory.
The SEC Standings: Only two undefeated teams remain in the Southeastern Conference after two weekends of play and both reside in the east. Arkansas played for a share of the SEC Western Division lead when it faced Ole Miss, but the Lady Rebel victory secured their top standing. Arkansas is currently fourth in the SEC West with three points thanks to their win against Mississippi State and is ahead of Alabama (two points) and Mississippi State (0 points). The Lady Razorbacks are tied with South Carolina in the overall standings as they seek a return trip to the SEC Championships.
The Georgia Bulldogs: Georgia has had a turnaround season in 2005 after struggling through the better part of 2004 and now own an 8-3-1 overall record. Taking a pair of weekend splits in SEC play, Georgia has conference wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina and dropped decisions to Florida and Ole Miss. In the Bulldogs two conference wins they have scored three goals in each contest, but were shutout in their two losses.
Another Ranked Foe: While Georgia doesn’t have a number next to their national ranking, they are receiving votes in the national polls and have been a fixture in the Southeast Regional rankings giving the Lady Razorbacks lots to think about.
Arkansas Versus Georgia: While the Lady Razorbacks don’t own a stellar record against Georgia over the years, it is respectable. Arkansas is 1-4-2 in seven career meetings with the Bulldogs, with their two ties coming in their last three meetings including their 2004 class in Athens, Ga. The Lady Razorbacks picked up their lone win against the Bulldogs in the fall of 1996 at the SEC Tournament in Lexington, Ky.
Last Season: It wasn’t a pretty game to watch for fans as Arkansas and Georgia battled to a 0-0 tie in Athens, Ga. Georgia fans were probably happy to see that their team cracked 17 shots to Arkansas’ five, but all eight attempts on Arkansas’ net were squashed by Carrie Dillsaver. A rough game from the start, there were four yellow cards issued during the contest, three to Arkansas and one to Georgia.
Almost There: Carrie Dillsaver has moved into second place all time on Arkansas’ games started list, a position that no matter how the season goes, she will finish. Against Mississippi State, Dillsaver started her 46th career game passing former teammate Lindsay Haywood. Next on the list is Molly Myers who started 61 contests, a number that is out of Dillsaver’s reach in 2005. If Dillsaver continues to start the rest of this season she would end with 54 starts, not including any post season contests.
Where She Stands Now: Carrie Dillsaver continues to creep ever closer to the Lady Razorback’s career goalkeeping records. She started her 47th career game (second), notched her 16th win (tied for fourth), faced her 563rd shot (fourth), made her 221st save (fifth), dropped her goals against average to 1.62 (second) and recorded her 11th shutout (third).
One of Five: Carrie Dillsaver only had to make one save against Southeastern Louisiana, but it was a big one. That save was the 200th of her two-and-a-half-year career and makes her just the fifth Lady Razorback to ever stop that many shots.
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 solid 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.
Injury Update: The Lady Razorbacks have been bit by the injury bug this season, but the news continues to improve. Sarah Gwisdala returned from her ankle injury and is back on the field. Andrea Sparks had arthroscopic knee surgery was able to provide valuable minutes against Vanderbilt. She looked even stronger against Mississippi State and Ole Miss and is has returned to full action. Allison Harris’ knee injury that required surgery was found to not be as bad as first thought and she may be able to return to the field by the end of the season. Alison Harter’s leg has required a walking boot, sidelining the sophomore for at least two more weeks. Finally, Katie Hamilton showed so much improvement with her back problems, that she was able to return to the field for the first time in nearly a month against Mississippi State.
Lineup Changes: Due to the rash of injuries, the Lady Razorbacks have had to be creative with their personnel and the result is eight different starting lineups in 11 games. The only two times Arkansas used the same 11 starters were in games one and two and six through eight. Otherwise it has been musical positions as players have compensated for the loss of their teammates.
Feast or Famine: Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks the 2005 season has been feast or famine when it comes to goals. In Arkansas’ four wins it has scored 11 times, but in the seven losses, the Lady Razorbacks have scored just two times and been shut out in five contests.
Getting on the Board Early: The Lady Razorbacks have proven this season that getting on the scoreboard first in women’s soccer is a huge advantage. The Lady Razorbacks have been the first to score in each of their four wins and in the seven losses, allowed their opponents to score the first goal.
McCool Scores: Not wanting to go home without something, senior Megan McCool made the most of her weekend against Vanderbilt and Kentucky as she not only had a pair of fabulous games, but also scored Arkansas’ only goal against Kentucky. Taking a feed from Katie Stauffer at the top of the penalty area, McCool dinked a shot with backspin over the head of the Kentucky goalkeeper to tie the match at one with just three minutes to play.
What a Play: Megan McCool produced perhaps the best single effort of the 2005 season against Mississippi when she took possession of the ball near midfield and dribbled past four defenders, then beat the Ole Miss keeper with a sharp angle shot. Unfortunately for McCool and the Lady Razorbacks, the shot hit the post and failed to go into the net.
Playing Her Best Soccer: Some athletes struggle their senior years as they determine what to do in the next stage of their lives, but not Megan McCool. The Bethany, Okla., native is playing the best soccer of her four-year career and the effort shows. She is on pace to eclipse her career best point total for a season and has been all over the field in each of Arkansas’ nine matches making her a constant threat.
McCool Back in the Swing: After an off year in terms of scoring, Megan McCool is back to her old ways. In her first four games this season she had 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.
Non-Conference Wrap-Up: The Lady Razorbacks ended their non-conference schedule on Sunday afternoon on a high note when they defeated Southeastern Louisiana. Arkansas finished the beginning part of its schedule 3-4-0, missing one game to Hurricane Katrina.
Welcome Back: The Lady Razorbacks returned a pair of athletes to full action last weekend when Andrea Sparks and Katie Hamilton took the field. While Sparks started against Vanderbilt, she was only allowed limited minutes, but was given full go against the Mississippi’s. Hamilton played in her first match since the Oral Roberts game on Sept. 4 and was a welcome addition to Arkansas’ forwards.
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 11 Lady Razorback contests with Leah Collison, Lindsay Patterson 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 every moment of each of Arkansas’ first seven regular season matches.
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.
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.