FAYETTEVILLE – After a rocky start, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team’s spring is coming up all roses despite the weather as it gets ready to conclude its spring schedule with an alumni match on Saturday, April 14 at 1:00 p.m.
“Our alumni match is always a lot of fun,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We get a chance to welcome back all our former players and get caught up with their lives. In addition it is a final chance for us to look at our current team and see what they can do. We have had a tremendous spring season and I can’t wait for the fall to come.”
The Lady Razorbacks opened its spring schedule with a pair of home matches in early March, forcing a tie in its opener and losing the second game, 2-0. In the second half of the spring, Arkansas went on the road and picked up a pair of victories against Southern Methodist and Texas Christian just a week ago giving the Lady Razorback coaching staff lots to look forward to as the fall draws closer.
“As a staff we tried to focus on just a few things this spring that we thought would put us ahead by the fall,” said Henderson. “The first thing was our possession. We are a possession oriented team that likes to build from the back and this spring we were able to educate our nine freshmen on what exactly we are looking for. Our second focus was to start identifying people that could step into rolls vacated by our senior class.”
The Lady Razorbacks’ final two matches were held in the Dallas, Texas, area and the difference between the team that allowed two goals within minutes early on and that which played in Texas was night and day. In the SMU match, the Lady Razorbacks started the game off quickly and put the Mustangs on their heels. Arkansas would score in the first 15 minutes of action on a brilliant shot by Abbey Wilburn from outside the penalty area. Conway, Ark., native Whitney Allison would score Arkansas’s second goal late in the half, but the Mustangs rebounded quickly and kept it a one-goal game just moments following Allison’s goal. The Lady Razorbacks’ final goal came late in the contest when newcomer Ally Atkins scored for the first time in her career.
Arkansas’s game with TCU would be much closer from the outset. The Lady Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead before the break on a Lindsay Patterson goal, but early on in the second, TCU would tie it up on a shot from outside the penalty area. Patterson would net Arkansas’s second goal as well to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead and its second victory in as many days.
“This was a very good win,” Henderson said. “It is never easy playing back-to-back especially in the spring. Players on both sides are not nearly as game fit as they are in the fall and that causes problems late. As a staff we felt as though our passing was excellent and TCU struggled to gain possession at times. We started to show the weariness of playing games on consecutive days midway through the second half, but caught our second wind and were able to win.”
The Lady Razorbacks conclude their spring season on Saturday with their annual alumni match. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.