One Goal Losses: For the seventh and eighth times this season the Lady Razorbacks played in one-goal matches when they faced Tennessee and Georgia. Unfortunately, Arkansas lost their sixth and seventh such games in a 2-1 overtime decision to #14 Tennessee and a 1-0 defeat to Georgia.
Looking Sharp: Despite the outcome, Arkansas played perhaps its best game of the season against #14 Tennessee, taking the two-time defending SEC Champions to overtime before losing on an indirect free kick. In the contest, Arkansas employed a defend and counter attack strategy that saw the tandem of Christina Burger and Katie Hamilton make several spirited runs at the Tennessee goal.
First Three Match Streak: The Lady Razorbacks have been up and down all season, but until this past weekend had not dropped three consecutive matches. The Lady Razorbacks head into the weekend attempting to stop the streak and get back on the winning side of the ledger.
Burger Continues to Score: Christina Burger tallied her fifth goal of the season against Tennessee on Oct. 7, matching her season total from a year ago and one off her career high of six which she set during her freshman year. Burger’s career high in points of 15, also set during her freshman season is also in jeopardy as she now has 13 points with five games to play.
Smart and Speedy: Christina Burger is Arkansas’ version of Speedy Gonzales as she streaks down the soccer pitch time after time. She was able to attack both Tennessee and Georgia in that fashion last weekend and teams have yet to counter her ability to streak past opposing defenses.
Burger Nets Third Game Winner: Junior Christina Burger has a knack for the important goals and that has shown itself this year. Of her five scores this season, three have won games for the Lady Razorbacks including her score against Mississippi State, while another has tied a match. 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.
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.
The Auburn Tigers: The Auburn Tigers host the Lady Razorbacks on Friday evening in what should be a tough match for both squads. Auburn owns a 4-8-1 overall record and are 3-3-0 in SEC play. To Auburn’s credit it faced a tough non-conference schedule that included #16 Texas. Like the Lady Razorbacks, Auburn has been in a lot of close games and have come out on the losing end of six one-goal matches.
Tough to Score: Auburn has had problems finding the goal this season as evidenced by their two matches in which it has scored more than two goals. While the Tigers have not put the ball into the net as often as they would like, they are spreading the wealth as 14 players have at least one point on the year.
When Last They Met: Auburn was ranked 19th in the country when it visited Fayetteville on Oct. 15, 2004 and it would take a foul and a stellar shot in the final two minutes to keep the Tigers from being upset. The Lady Razorbacks were certainly not without their chances as well as then freshman Ali Harter had a one-on-one with the Auburn keeper in the 86th minute but was stuffed by the sprawling Auburn keeper.
The Arkansas-Auburn Series: In the early going, Arkansas held the lead in the all-time series, but in 2003 Auburn tied the all-time set and took the lead for the first time in 2004. In what has been a series of close matches since 2000, neither team has been head and shoulders above their opponent as Auburn now holds a one-match lead at 6-5-1.
The SEC Standings: Despite a pair of losses over the weekend, the Lady Razorbacks remain in fourth place in the SEC’s Western Division with three points. Tied with Mississippi State in terms of points, Arkansas holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. Ole Miss took a commanding lead in the standings with a pair of wins to move to 15 points while Auburn stands in second with nine followed by LSU at seven. In the east, Tennessee remains the only undefeated team in conference play with six wins followed by Vanderbilt at 5-1-0 and Florida 4-1-1.
The Alabama Crimson Tide: The Alabama Crimson Tide opened the year with some tremendous wins, but have faded since the start of the Southeastern Conference season. With a 6-5-2 overall record, the Crimson Tide are a disappointing 0-4-2 in SEC play, but did pick up a huge tie against Florida in the opening weekend of conference action.
Lots of Scoring Early: Looking at the Crimson Tide’s statistics, one might believe that they are an offensive juggernaut. Libby Probst leads the team with 13 goals, seven assists and 33 points while four other Crimson Tide members have more than 10 points on the year. Interestingly though, of Alabama’s 39 goals on the year, only four have been scored in Southeastern Conference play.
The 2004 Matchup: It was an ugly game for the Lady Razorbacks the last time they tangled with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Coming off a stellar performance against a ranked Auburn team, Arkansas came out of the gate flat and allowed Alabama to net three goals in the opening eight minutes of play. On their heels, the Lady Razorbacks were able to stop Alabama from their torrid scoring pace, but were only able to score one goal of their own as the game ended in a 3-1 Alabama victory.
The Series: Alabama holds the advantage in the all-time series with Arkansas 8-3-1, but since 1999, Arkansas played the Crimson Tide even. Having never beaten Alabama before 1999, the Crimson Tide owned a huge advantage, but the Lady Razorbacks picked up their first ‘W’ in Tuscaloosa in the fall of 1999, then won three of four matches before dropping the last two.
Winding Down: As the 2005 season slowly begins to close, Carrie’ Dillsaver’s position in Arkansas lore is beginning to settle. Moving into second all-time in games started, should she start the rest of the season she will finish with 54 wins, six behind all-time leader Molly Myers. She could also place herself second in wins, shots, goals against average and shutouts if things work out well for the Lady’Backs.
Where She Stands Now: Carrie Dillsaver continues to creep ever closer to the Lady Razorback’s career goalkeeping records. She started her 49th career game (second), notched her 16th win (tied for fourth), faced her 597th shot (fourth), made her 229th save (fifth), dropped her goals against average to 1.61 (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 had 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 hit by injuries all season. Senior Andrea Sparks had knee surgery in September and made her way back to the field for the Mississippi State-Ole Miss weekend, but had another problem occur that doctors are looking at making her status questionable for the upcoming weekend. Junior Allison Harris is likely out for the remainder of the season with her right MCL, while sophomore Alison Harter continues to wear a walking boot on her left foot.
Returned to Action: Of all the injuries the Lady Razorbacks have faced this season, some have healed including Sarah Gwisdala’s ankle which caused problems throughout September, Katie Stauffer’s back was an issue early, but that healed as have her numerous illnesses. Junior Katie Hamilton seems to have strengthened her back enough to play as she has added valuable minutes to Arkansas’ front line.
Lineup Changes: Due to the rash of injuries, the Lady Razorbacks have had to be creative with their personnel and the result is nine different starting lineups in 13 games. Perhaps those starting 11 are beginning to settle as head coach Gordon Henderson used the same starting 11 for just the third time this year against Tennessee and Georgia last weekend, but otherwise the only two times Arkansas used the same 11 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 nine losses, the Lady Razorbacks have scored just three times and been shut out in six 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 nine losses, allowed their opponents to score the first goal.
The Players: Every season a team has its stars and the 2005 Lady Razorbacks are no exception. Several Arkansas players have had tremendous seasons despite the scores and those include seniors Megan McCool and Katie Taylor, juniors Devon Burger and Christina Burger and freshmen Megan Fawley and Abbey Wilburn. While other Lady Razorbacks have played well this season, those six have met the challenges placed before them and taken their games to another level.
McCool Scores: Not wanting to go home without something against Vanderbilt and Kentucky, senior Megan McCool made the most of her weekend 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.
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.
A Silent Leader: She doesn’t say much on the field and she doesn’t look flashy when she plays, but Devon Burger gets the job done. One of Arkansas’ candidates for team MVP in 2005, Burger has been one of Arkansas’ most consistent players since she set foot on campus and has anchored the left defensive back position for three seasons.
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.
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.
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.
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.