FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team went toe-to-toe with the 19th-ranked Auburn Tigers at Lady’Back Field on Friday evening but surrendered the game’s only score in the 89th minute to fall to the Western division leading Tigers, 1-0, in front of the fourth largest crowd in Arkansas soccer history of 742.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 6-7-2 overall and 2-3-2 in Southeastern Conference action while Auburn improves to 11-2-1 overall and 6-0-1 in conference action.
Playing what was a superior game defensively, the Lady Razorbacks were able to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard. Coupled with a pair of unbelievable saves by Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver and the Lady’Backs certainly felt as though they had a chance to knock off their ranked opponent.
“I thought that this was a well played game and it show how far we have come as a team in such a short period of time,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “To play this team that is going to win the west and possibly the SEC this tough is a credit to our team. I said last week that there is a fine line between winning, losing and drawing and that was proven tonight.”
Arkansas had its opportunity to score late in the contest when an Auburn clear caught the shin of Lady Razorback freshman Ali Harter. Bouncing right in front of the Fayetteville native, Harter bore down on the Auburn keeper from 30 yards. As Harter drew near, the former United States U-19 goalkeeper, Megan Rivera came off the goal line to cut the angle. An Auburn defender attacked Harter from the side as she let lose her shot from the top of the penalty area which struck Rivera hard, but the Auburn keeper corralled any rebound to keep the game scoreless at 87:38.
Just moments later, Auburn picked up the game winner at 88:49 when Courtney Crandell hit a 25-yard blast from the right side of the Auburn attack that deflected off a leg and sailed into the left side of the goal. The score is Crandall’s fourth of the season.
For Arkansas, Dillsaver looked spectacular in goal making eight saves over the 90 minutes of action. Her standout moment came early in the second half when three consecutive Auburn shots from point-blank range were stopped. The first came from inside the six-yard box on a cross from the right side where Jenny Zarzour took a shot that Dillsaver knocked down with her hands. The rebound was hit by Christie Cigno and ricocheted off the crossbar before Ashley Willis then took a knock that Dillsaver plucked out of the air as it headed toward the top shelf.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide in a pivotal SEC matchup at Lady’Back Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.