FAYETTEVILLE – Following a 10-day layoff, Arkansas’ soccer team gets back on the field with two games this weekend in Colorado.
The Razorbacks face Air Force on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Colorado College on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games are set for Colorado Springs.
Arkansas has not played since Sept. 2, giving head coach Erin Aubry extra time in practice to work on different areas.
"We’ve really focused on scoring goals, getting around the goal more often and being comfortable in front of it," she says. "With as many new faces as we have on the team, and even our experienced senior, Kailey Anders, is new to the position of forward, we tried to create a lot of game-like scenarios in front of the goal to improve our scoring. We worked on not just getting opportunities, but finishing.
"We also focused on recovery and getting rid of nagging little injuries, and we continued to focus on how well we can do defensively, but specifically on goalkeeping," Aubry says.
Air Force is 4-3 this season after going 8-9-2 a year ago, including a 1-5-1 record in the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons went 1-1 last weekend with a 1-0 win over Weber State and a 2-0 loss to Cleveland State in a pair of home games.
Arkansas leads the all-time series 1-0. The only other meeting came in 2009, Aubry’s first season at Arkansas. The Razorbacks played the Falcons in Fayetteville and posted a 4-2 victory on the way to a 3-0 start on the season.
Colorado College is 1-4-1 this year after finishing 8-7-4 last season, including 4-6-1 in Conference USA. Arkansas has already faced one member of Conference USA this season, beating SMU, 2-1, in the season-opener. The Tigers play host to Fresno State on Friday, but they have not played since a 4-1 loss to North Carolina State on Sept. 4.
"We’re itching to get some goals in the back of the net," Aubry says. "It certainly will not be easy against two good defensive teams."
The Razorbacks are led by Anders, the senior forward who played defender the last two years. A nominee for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, she leads the squad with 21 shots, 11 shots on goal and a .524 shots on goal percentage.
Freshman forward Jeri Ann Okoro is second with a .429 shots on goal percentage (3-7) while freshman midfielder Beth Stratton is next at .417 (5-12).
Anders is the only senior in the starting lineup for Arkansas. Junior Allie Chandler, who has a .308 shots on goal percentage (4-13), is the only other upperclassman. The other nine starters are all underclassmen, including freshmen Okoro, Stratton, midfielder Tyler Allen, defenders Sam Wolf, Kaylyn Cooper and Courtney Williams, and goalkeeper Emily Lillard. Sophomores Melanie Foncham and Jessie Givens also start at defender and midfielder, respectively.
Following the trip to Colorado, the Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference play with home games against Ole Miss on Sept. 23 and Mississippi State on Sept. 25.