STARKVILLE, Miss. –Senior Christina Burger scored the game winner in just the third minute of action as the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team picked up its first Southeastern Conference win in Starkville, Miss., against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 3-0.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 8-3-0 on the year and 1-2-0 in SEC action while Mississippi State falls to 2-9-0 overall and 1-3-0 in conference action.
“This is a great win for us,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “This is a place that traditionally is hard to win at. We changed our style of play and were more direct to try and counter what Mississippi State was trying to do and that proved to be effective.”
The Lady Razorbacks wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Burger capitalized on a one-on-one with the Mississippi State goalkeeper at the 2:28 mark. Winning a ball along the left touchline, Rachel Smith sent a long ball to the Mississippi State end where Lindsay Patterson flicked it along with her head and created the golden opportunity.
Taking an early lead for the 10th time in 11 matches played well into Arkansas’ plans as it was able to control the tempo of action and force the Bulldogs into long shots and passes that posed little threat. The Lady Razorbacks endured several hard fouls by the bulldogs throughout both halves, but held their own against the physical opponent.
Arkansas would get on the scoreboard again at the end of the first half not long after subbing their top goal scorer out of the contest. Freshman Kat Moffett was sent onto the pitch for Burger who came out after an apparent injury and knocked in her second goal of the season moments later. Sophomore Alison Harter created another Lady Razorback attack down the left side of the field and sent a long pass to the middle of the mixer where Moffett elevated her spry 5-1 frame high into the air and touched a header over the Mississippi State goalkeeper to make it a 2-0 game at the half.
Freshman Sophie Wentz would add a third goal to Arkansas’ total in the 78th minute long after the game was decided to ice the match. For Wentz, the goal was her second of the season and sophomores Whitney Allison and Abbey Wilburn were credited with assists on the goal.
“I thought that Kate Venable was magnificent in midfield today winning balls and with an incredible work rate,” Henderson said. “I also thought that our back four were superb in dealing with big, strong forwards.”
The Arkansas win would not be complete without stellar play from its back line and goalkeeper. Senior Carrie Dillsaver was credited with two saves in the match and picked up her 16th career shutout. The Claremore, Okla., native is currently Arkansas career leader in four statistical categories and moves to within two shutouts of Arkansas record in that category.
Even though Dillsaver gets the credit on paper for the shutout, it was Arkansas defense that rarely allowed a shot from closer than 20 yards. The quartet of Sarah Gwisdala, Allison Harris, Devon Burger and Rachel Smith were brilliant throughout the 90 minute contest despite an oppressive heat.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next Friday night when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.