FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team opened its preseason practice schedule at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning at Lady’Back Field with fitness tests and short field games to mark the beginning of the 2007 season.
Starting the day off with 25-yard sprints, the Lady Razorbacks went through a grueling fitness test before taking a short break from the heat. The team then returned to the field for an hour of seven-on-seven games using half the field giving head coach Gordon Henderson a good look at what his 2007 team might accomplish.
“It was a good first practice,” Henderson said. “We’ve had to adjust our training schedule to accommodate the weather, but overall I was very pleased. The freshmen have fit in very well with the upperclassmen and there is no telling who the freshmen are on the field which is a good thing.”
Following the 25-yard sprints, the Lady Razorbacks participated in a fitness test which shares its name with England’s premiership squad Manchester United. In the drill athletes sprint nearly the entire length of the soccer field in 25 seconds, then have 35 seconds to recover and return to the line which they started from. The athletes continue to have 25 seconds to sprint for 10 rounds before one second is dropped off the sprint time in subsequent rounds.
A good portion of the Lady Razorback squad went past the 10-round mark with a pair of freshmen joining sophomore Kathleen Paulson to 18. Freshman Danielle Alexander would complete 19 rotations before coming up just short on her next sprint of 16 seconds.
After recovering from the taxing fitness drill, the Lady Razorbacks took the field again and were split into three teams. Two teams took the field and the team that conceded the first goal was replaced by the team on the sideline creating a hectic, yet technically challenging contest. Several players stood out during the short games including senior Sarah Gwisdala who hit a pair of shots from a defenders position that found their way to the back of the net. Freshman goalkeeper Britni Williams also made an impression as she opened the contest with a pair of sliding tackles on would-be goal scorers.
The Lady Razorbacks continue two-a-day practices throughout the week in preparation for their first match of the season on Friday, Aug. 31 against the Univ. of Tulsa at Lady’Back Field. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.