SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Freshman Kathleen Paulson tied the match at two with 30 seconds to play in regulation, but it was a double overtime goal that broke the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team’s hearts as Arkansas fell to Missouri State University, 3-2, in Springfield, Mo.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 0-1-0 on the season while Missouri State improves to 1-0-0.
“I am obviously disappointed with the loss,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “Congratulations to them on a match well played, but when you look at the stats sheet this was about as even a game as you could get and it could have been a tie or us that won. I think that we struggled on the thick grass tonight. It really slowed our passing, but that has to be something that we sort out and is part of the learning curve.
“The way that we came back in this match really showed a lot of character. That is something that I expect of this team and at no time did I ever think that we were out of the match and I must applaud this team for that. It would have been very easy for this team to fold after Missouri State scored late, but they continued fighting.”
Arkansas wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as it took advantage of its second corner kick of the match. Coming from the left side, freshman Rachel Smith took the corner and sent a long ball to the center of the goal where the Missouri State keeper came out to play it. In an attempt to punch the ball clear, the Bears keeper was unable to push the ball outside the penalty area allowing it to bounce to the foot of junior Allison Harris. Harris deposited the ball into the net with a quick yet forceful tap to give Arkansas the advantage at 12:05.
The Lady Razorbacks dominated the opening 39 minutes of action, but Missouri State came charging back in the final six minutes of the first half. Several quality scoring chances for the Bears would finally come to fruition when Nicole Logan drove the ball down the right side of the field. Beating one Lady’Back defender, she took the ball toward the center of the field and sent a cross to the middle of the net where a streaking Emily Wright caught the ball in midair with her knee and floated a shot over Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver at 44:20 to tie the score at one going into halftime.
Missouri State took a 2-1 lead in the contest in the 83rd minute when a Bears attack, this time down the left side of the field led to another cross in the mixer. Karen Sweeney was the first to the ball and she sent a shot to the far post that Dillsaver was able to touch and knock into the post, but as luck would have it, the ball careened back into the net for the Bears advantage.
Unwilling to give into to fate, Arkansas came charging back to dominate play once more and put constant pressure on the Missouri State defense. The Lady Razorback attack would cause fits for the Bears back line which eventually led to a foul just outside the penalty area. On the play, freshman Kylee Mesler went chasing after a ball played into space and was knocked to the ground by a Missouri State defender leading to the call.
The resulting direct free kick was taken by Paulsen who hit a laser off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal to tie the match at two. Paulsen’s shot came from 25 yards outside the corner of the penalty area and left the Bear’s goalkeeper with no chance to save the blast.
The game-winning score for Missouri State would fall into the net just 57 seconds into the second overtime period when Sweeney took a feed just inside the 18-yard box. Holding off a Lady Razorback defender, Sweeney turned and fired to the far post well outside the reach of Dillsaver for the game winner.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.