BATON ROUGE, La. – An early goal and two quick second-half strikes put Arkansas (11-8, 4-7) behind the eight ball and the Razorbacks couldn’t mount a comeback as they dropped a 3-1 decision to LSU (13-3-1, 7-3-1) in Friday’s season finale. The Tigers got goals from Roslyn Jones and Melissa Clarke in the victory, while Kailey Anders scored her second goal in as many games in the 86th minute to put Arkansas on the board.Jones gave LSU the early advantage when she found the back of the Razorback net just 1:31 into play. The ball was played in from midfield in an attempt to reset, but the ball deflected off two converging Arkansas defenders and to the feet of Jones who tapped it in for the Tigers’ first goal.After the quick score, the Razorbacks steadied and played an even game with LSU during the rest of the half. The two teams got off an identical five shots in the first 45 minutes of play, but Arkansas forced Tiger goalkeeper Mo Isom to make four first-half saves. Other than the Jones goal, Razorback goalkeeper Britni Williams didn’t face a shot on goal in the first half.
“We came out and gave up a soft goal in the first minutes of the game,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “That’s on us, as a program. However, for the rest of the first half, I thought we gave them all sorts of problems, but as good teams do, (LSU) absorbed the pressure and was able to get out of that first half without conceding a goal.”
The Tigers came out of the locker room at halftime and played the aggressor early in the second half. At the 58:39 mark, Clarke struck a 25-yard shot aimed at the back post and put it past Williams for her first score of the game.
Less than a minute later, Clarke knocked in her second goal on a similar shot. Off a Razorback turnover in the backfield, Jones and Malorie Rutledge combined on an assist to Clarke at the 59:17 mark to give LSU the 3-0 lead.
“To give LSU credit, they took an even game and extended their lead with two quality strikes from outside the box,” Henderson said. “Those scores were the difference in the game. The only thing I find ironic is the player that scored those goals was given a warning in the first half for violent conduct.”
In the first half, Clarke received a warning after she was whistled for a foul after a ball had rolled out of bounds. The goals were Clarke’s fifth and sixth of the season.
The Razorbacks notched their lone goal at the 85:15 mark whenAnders headed in aRachel Smith corner kick. The freshman forward crashed the box and knocked the ball past Isom for her second goal of the season. It was Smith’s third assist of the year.
The loss marks the end of the 2008 season which saw the Razorbacks equal program highs with four conference wins and 11 overall victories. Lindsay Patterson ends the season as the team’s top scorer with 15 points and six goals. Fellow senior Abbey Wilburn led Arkansas with four assists. It’s the third time during her Razorback career to lead the team in assists.
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