A Weekend Split: If you had asked Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson what he would have liked out of the Lady Razorback’s Mississippi trip he probably would have asked for at least a tie. Instead the Lady Razorbacks picked up a split on their trip and remain in second place in the conference’s Western Division.
An Overtime Thriller: Arkansas scored early, then Mississippi State tied it up later in the period and after a scoreless second half, Arkansas went into its second consecutive overtime match. In the contest, Jenni Brashear provided the spark that Arkansas needed as she sent a cross from the right side that found the head of sophomore Katie Hamilton who knocked a diving header into the goal to give Arkansas the victory.
Senior Leadership: Senior Jenni Brashear was the sparkplug that Arkansas needed in its match with the Mississippi State Bulldogs as she scored Arkansas’ first goal, then assisted on the game winner in overtime. Brashear is Arkansas’ only senior on the active roster and her speed and tenacity on the front line has been instrumental to Arkansas’ success this fall.
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.
Second in the West: Four games into the Southeastern Conference schedule and the Lady Razorbacks are second in the league’s western division. Thanks to their 2-1-1 conference record, Arkansas has seven points in the league’s new point-driven standings. The leaders in the west are the Auburn Tigers with 10 points.
Big Weekend: It isn’t easy to win on the road and even harder against the SEC’s eastern division, but that is exactly what the Lady Razorbacks are asked to do this weekend when they travel to Tennessee and Georgia, historically two of the tougher teams in the SEC.
The Tennessee Lady Vols: The Tennessee Lady Vols enter the weekend as the toast of the Southeastern Conference with a 7-2-2 overall record and a perfect 4-0-0 mark in the conference. Last weekend, the Lady Vols went on the road and defeated the Florida Gators 2-1 in overtime followed by a 4-0 drubbing of South Carolina on Sunday.
First Ranked Opponent: The Lady Vols are the first ranked opponent for the Lady Razorbacks this season as they enter Friday night’s contest as high as seventh. Recapping all the polls, Tennessee is 13th in the NSCAA poll, 27th in the SoccerBuzz poll, 11th in the SoccerAmerica rankings and seventh in the Soccer Times poll.
Perfect at Home: Tennessee is a tough side at home and that is proved by its perfect 2-0-1 record on its home turf. What is most strange about Tennessee’s schedule is that it has only played three of its 11 matches at home.
SEC Offensive Player of the Week: The honor went to Arkansas’ Sarah Gwisdala last week, but this week it goes to Tennessee’s Kayla Lockaby who scored the game-winning goal in the Lady Vols win over the Florida Gators. Lockaby’s efforts over the weekend put her in a tie for leading scorer on the Lady Vol roster.
Lockaby and Christoph: Kayla Lockaby and Ali Christoph are a dangerous pair and the numbers agree. Both players lead the Lady Vols in scoring with 11 points. While Lockaby is the goal scorer with five tallies, Christoph is certainly the playmaker with five assists.
Strong in Net: Not only can the Lady Vols score, they can defend. With one of the best goalkeepers in the SEC, Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart, Tennessee is able to keep opposing offenses out of the goal at an alarming rate. The Lady Vols have allowed fewer than one goal per match and Phillips-Bosshart has a 0.85 goals against average while making 45 saves.
The Arkansas-Tennessee Series: Arkansas and Tennessee have only met five times in the two teams’ existence, with Tennessee holding a decided 4-1 advantage on the Lady Razorbacks. Arkansas took the first meeting between the two schools back in 1996, 1-0, in Knoxville, but since then have dropped four straight including a 4-0 shutout at home last season.
Coming on Strong: It took a while for Katie Hamilton to find her place among the Lady Razorbacks, but the 5 foot, 2 inch sophomore is playing much bigger than her frame would indicate. Having already scored her first career points, Hamilton picked up her first game winning goal against Mississippi State.
The Game Winner: If there was ever a highlight reel kind of goal in the game of soccer it would have to be either the bicycle kick or the diving header. Both require a high degree of concentration and in Katie’s Hamilton’s case, that is what she got as she connected on the latter to give Arkansas a 2-1 victory in Starkville, Miss. Charging down the far side of the field, Hamilton found the cross of senior Jenni Brashear to net the golden goal.
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.
The Georgia Bulldogs: The Georgia Bulldogs enter the weekend with perhaps one of its worst records ever at 2-6-3 overall and 0-3-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Perennially one of the stronger teams in the SEC, Georgia had a very tough non-conference schedule and have taken on some of the league’s best teams in Florida and Ole Miss. Georgia’s lone conference tie came at the disposal of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., 1-1 in double overtime.
Struggling Defense: Part of Georgia’s legacy has been the play of its defenders and goalkeepers. Some of the best that the conference has ever seen, Georgia is not the same squad on the back line as it has been in year’s past. This season, the Bulldogs have surrendered 18 goals while only scoring 12.
Pair of Scorers: While Georgia hasn’t been the offensive juggernaut of years past, it does possess a pair of goal scorers in Karen Zmirak and Tricia McKee. McKee leads the team in goals with four while Zmirak has the points lead at nine with three goals and three assists.
Arkansas Versus Georgia: Sometimes its close, others not so much. Last season was one of those not so much matches as Georgia manhandled the Lady Razorbacks, but despite the loss, Arkansas still has a 1-4-1 overall record against the Bulldogs. Arkansas’ lone win came during the SEC tournament in 1996 with the tie just a few years back in Fayetteville in the 2000 season.
Last Year: There are some games that you shouldn’t talk about and the Arkansas-Georgia match is one of them. Georgia scored early and often in the contest, drubbing the Lady Razorbacks to the tune of 7-2. One of the few Arkansas highlights was former Lady’Back goalkeeper Lindsay Haywood picking up her first ever assist from goal and the first by a Lady’Back goalkeeper.
Player of the Week: For her efforts on the field in Arkansas’ SEC opening 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 in Arkansas’ matches with Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Her score in the 84th minute against the Commodores proved to be the game winner, her second game-winner of the season. She then tallied the only goal in Arkansas’ match with Kentucky which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Leading Scorer: Despite not scoring last weekend, freshman Sarah Gwisdala still leads the Lady Razorbacks in scoring this year with six goals and12 points. 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.
Getting On the Board First: It seems like an easy concept, but certainly is much harder to do. When the Lady Razorbacks score first they have an excellent chance to win, in fact its nearly automatic. Arkansas is an impressive 6-0-1 when scoring the game’s first goal, but a disappointing 0-5-0 when playing from behind.
Breaking Records: OK, so we missed one, but we won’t miss two. Carrie Dillsaver’s four shutouts in 2004are a record for sophomore goalkeepers. She broke the mark set by Keri Reifel in the fall of 1992. The record that we won’t miss is the minutes played mark by a sophomore goalkeeper. Set just four years ago by former Lady’Back Lindsay Haywood, Dillsaver should pass her former teammate near the end of the Auburn match on Oct. 15.
Tops in the Conference: Carrie Dillsaver has been among the conference’s elite when it comes to making a save and this week’s SEC statistics prove that. Dillsaver’s 53 saves this year are tops among SEC goalkeepers, two ahead of Ashley Lindley of Georgia.
Make it Seven: Sophomore goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver must like Arkansas’ new system. Four of her victories this season have 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 1.63, but needs to produce several more shutouts or one-goal matches to achieve that goal.
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.
Best Start: Arkansas’ three-match undefeated streak to open Southeastern Conference play was its best start ever since joining the league in the fall of 1994. Prior to the 2004 team, Arkansas’ 1995 squad opened the season 2-0 against the Mississippi schools before falling to Florida in game three.
On the Road Again: The Lady Razorbacks are getting used to the road as this weekend marks their sixth trip away from Fayetteville. Arkansas’ record on the road and at neutral sites is 3-4-0 and it still has four more road matches to play.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was ahead, but has now fallen behind in its chase to match the 11-win season of 1996. Through 12 matches Arkansas is currently 6-5-1 overall while its predecessors were 7-5-0. The current Lady Razorbacks are going to have a tough time matching 1996’s next two matches when they went 1-0-1 against Oral Roberts and Alabama.
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 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.