FAYETTEVILLE – The Gordon Henderson era of Arkansas soccer is scheduled to begin on Friday, August 27, when the Lady Razorbacks take on the Southeast Missouri State Otahkians in the 2004 regular season opener in Cape Girardeau, Mo., at 7:00 p.m.
Following a very good preseason, the Lady Razorbacks enter the 2004 campaign in perhaps their best physical conditioning ever and hope that the hard work and dedication put in through the last two weeks and over the course of the past several months carries over to a strong opener. The Lady Razorbacks return eight starters from last year’s squad that put together one of Arkansas’ best seasons in recent years and have aspirations to improve dramatically in 2004.
“I’m excited,” Henderson said. “I’m excited for the women on the team and the staff. We put in a lot of hard work during the preseason and this is why. It will be a terrific test for us. Southeast Missouri is a very good team with a senior laden squad. They have been very good in their conference the past couple of years and are definitely an opponent that will test us and should be respected.”
Southeast Missouri enters the contest after a strong 10-5-5 record in 2003. Using a strong defense to dominate opponents, the Otahkians gave up just 19 goals over their 20 game schedule last season, while scoring 25 goals of their own. Returning a majority of their defensive-minded squad, the Otahkians should prove to be a tough opponent on Friday night.
On the Lady Razorbacks’ side of the ledge is their 1-0 career record against Southeast Missouri. Arkansas defeated the Otahkians 2-1 at Lady’Back Field in September 2002. In that contest, the Lady Razorbacks picked up goals from former Lady’Back Julie Williford and junior Morgan McCord who not only picked up the first of her three career goals, but also the game winner in the 21st minute. The 2002 contest was dominated by the Lady Razorbacks who took 20 shots against their foe while surrendering just six.
Unfortunately for the Lady Razorbacks, they will not be at full force on Friday as junior Megan McCool will be unavailable for the contest. McCool received her fifth yellow card in Arkansas’ last match of the 2002 season against Oklahoma State which requires her to sit out the next contest played, including the first match of 2003.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.