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Soccer opens season Friday at 7 p.m.

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Soccer opens season Friday at 7 p.m.

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas soccer team opens their 2013 campaign with a home match against the University of Kansas on Friday, Aug. 23. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT) at Razorback Field. Head coach Colby Hale is set to begin his second season at the helm of the Razorbacks. In his first season with the Razorbacks he helped lead the team to a 9-10-1, 6-6-1 Southeastern Conference record that resulted in Arkansas’ first SEC Tournament bid since 2000. “We are in a good place right now after our preseason game,” Hale said. “I think the girls are in a great place right now after we had a great preseason camp. They obviously put in their work this summer, so we are really looking forward to it.” Arkansas will be returning nine offensive forces this season that are responsible for 60 percent of the goals scored in the 2012 season. Junior Jeriann Okoro and sophomore’s Ashleigh Ellenwood and Lindsey Mayo combined for 13 goals last season with 30 shots on goal and many assists. “Our speed will definitely be strength this season,” Hale says. “I think we will have the ability to get behind people, which ultimately has to translate to goals, which is where our focus will be by creating chances and being more efficient.” Whichever formation Hale sends out this season, he will have depth and experience at all positions. Senior’s Yvonne DesJarlais, Taylor Green and junior Beth Stratton ap experience to the frontline with all recording sufficient field time in their previous seasons. Hale and crew are also aping two fresh faces to their attacking squad this season including Dee Dee Green and McKinzie James. In the midfield, Arkansas returns many upperclassmen that have seen plenty of action with seniors Jessie Givens and Evan Palmer, alongside juniors Hailey Pescatore, Tyler Allen and Sam Wolf to help the Razorback attack. Sophomore Teni Butler along with newcomers Claire Kelley, Katie Moore, Kayla Peterson and Rachel Riggs will also be aped to the mix. “Kansas is going to be one of the top teams in the Big 12,” Hale said. “They are a very good attacking team and they have some great forwards. Kansas is definitely a top-25 caliber team and they will certainly be a good test for us.” On the defensive side of things, the Razorbacks return three juniors in Allie Tripp, Kaylyn Cooper and Courtney Williams and sophomores Margaret Power, Blake Pruitt who each bring a significant amount of playing experience to help Arkansas control the ball. The Razorbacks have also aped plenty of depth with the apition of three freshmen Alexandra Fischer, Becca Schamel and Erika Miller. “We are very excited for the back four this year,” assistant coach Ben Strawbridge said. “We return every player with experience in the back line plus we have aped some great depth. I think the back four has matured immensely over the past year and I’m excited to build on the foundation we have established.” In the goal, the Razorbacks welcome two freshmen in Cameron Carter and Taylor Erwin to the field. Although they are young, the Razorbacks are excited to have two keepers to compete for the position this year. “We’re fortunate to have two quality goalkeepers to help anchor our defense in the 2013 season,” assistant coach Mario Rincon said. "That kind of competition is only going to make our defense better as we compete in the SEC.” Arkansas has 11 home matches on their 2013 schedule and will play six teams–Utah State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Auburn and Missouri–that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament. Two of those NCAA match-ups will be contested on the Razorbacks’ home field at Razorback Field. The Razorbacks will return to the pitch on Sunday Aug. 25 to play host to SMU at Razorback Field. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (CT). For more information on Arkansas Soccer, follow @RazorbackSoccer on Twitter.



Sports Category : Soccer (W)