FAYETTEVILLE – Freshman Abbey Wilburn scored her first career goal and added an assist asthe University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala., 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 5-10-0 overall and 2-6-0 in SEC action while Alabama falls to 7-6-2 overall and 1-5-2 in conference play.
“What a game,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “This was one that we really needed to win and I give the ladies all the credit in the world for coming back after a tough overtime match on Friday night and getting the win by playing with tremendous energy. We deserved to win one of these close games and got it today.”
The Lady Razorbacks owned the early momentum in the contest as evidenced by their time of possession and early lead in the shot department. Arkansas’ best opportunity in the early going came off the foot of Christina Burger when she hit a laser that crossed up the Alabama goalkeeper and hit the crossbar.
Both squads fought valiantly though the next 20 minutes but Alabama began to gain the momentum at home and used that to their advantage as they scored the game’s first goal. Taking a free kick from the right side, Cally Morrill sent a long cross the back post where two Alabama players charged the net unchecked. The Crimson Tide’s Annie Collins was the first to the cross and was able to one touch a shot into an open net to put Alabama up by one.
Unfazed by the Alabama score, the Lady Razorbacks went right back to work and put constant pressure on the Alabama defense. Not long after the Alabama score, Henderson made a change in philosophy as he sent Wilburn to the front line from her midfielders position. The change worked brilliantly as Wilburn would take a feed from Whitney Allison at the top of the 18-yard box and hit a shot into the left side of the net to tie the score at one.
Similar to the first half, Arkansas controlled the tempo of the game in the second half, but neither team was able to secure a strong offensive presence. Several key substitutions by Arkansas in both halves was able to give the Lady Razorbacks the strength they needed to keep a step ahead of their opponents.
Arkansas capitalized on their speed advantage in the 78th minute when an Arkansas attack caught the Crimson Tide on their heels. On the play, Sarah Gwisdala held the ball at the center of the field and laid a pass to the right side for Abbey Wilburn. Playing a two-person game, Wilburn quickly sent a pass into the penalty area where Gwisdala had run into space. Gwisdala took the one touch pass and took a quick shot which beat the Alabama keeper to make it a 2-1 Arkansas lead.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action next Friday night when they travel to Columbia, S.C., for another SEC matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.