Arkansas falls in home opener to Tulsa 1-0
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A shot by Tulsa’s Kayla Chambers found the back of the Arkansas goal at the 46:29 mark and lifted the visiting Golden Hurricane to a 1-0 win over the Razorbacks. The two teams battled in front of 802 fans Friday night at Razorback Field.
The goal by Tulsa (2-1) came just 1:29 into the second half. The quick attack was a reverse of fortunes for Arkansas (1-1) who took control early in the game with crisp passes and an aggressive attitude. Sophomore Kelly O’Connor forced Tulsa goalkeeper Kendall Harclerode to make a save just 40 seconds into the game.
“It was just a strange game,” head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I thought the first 20 minutes of the game were absolutely stunning with the one-touch passing from us creating some great looks at goal, and I think thing were looking good to begin.”
Arkansas continued to apply early pressure with a shot from Kathleen Paulsen. The Razorbacks tallied the first three shots of the match, all coming in the first 12 minutes of play. Abbey Wilburn’s shot from out front of the box missed high. As quickly as it was gained, the momentum switched in favor of the Golden Hurricane.
“You give our opponents credit for fighting back with passion and energy,” Henderson said. “That got them back in the game. After that, it was a scrappy game and it suited our opponents better. By the end, I think that deserved to win because they fought for it.”
Tulsa fired three shots of its own in a nine-minute span but Razorback goalkeeper Britni Williams kept the game scoreless with three saves. At the half, Arkansas and Tulsa were locked in a scoreless tie.
The game’s only score came after a scramble in front of the Arkansas goal. Chambers was able to gain control among a crowd to poke it past Williams for her second goal of the season.
The Razorbacks looked to recover by going on the offensive again and maintaining possessing for most of the latter half of the second period. Off a corner kick by Rachel Smith, O’Connor settled the ball at the top of the box and fired just high after the ball was deflected.
Arkansas looked to capitalize on another opportunity after the ball bounced off an official and onto the foot of Sophie Wentz at midfield. O’Connor broke into the open field, but the pass from Wentz was out of reach.
The momentum seemed to stay in the home team’s favor with another shot from Paulsen 15 yards out. The ball was blocked by a Tulsa player. With 12:30 remaining in the game, Wentz and O’Connor tried to connect again, but the Razorbacks remained scoreless when O’Connor’s shot rang off the right post.
“We had a shot off the post and one off someone’s shin,” Henderson said. “The goal they scored was a deflected shot, so that’s soccer. On a different day, it could be a different score, but the only score that matters is that they scored one and we didn’t.”
Harclerode made a stop on left-footed shot from Kim Schleif at the 80:11 mark to preserve the shutout for Tulsa.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak against the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa last won at Razorback Field during the 2002 season. Arkansas will look to rebound quickly as it hosts Oral Roberts to close its weekend.
“It’s going to be an interesting game for us,” Henderson said. “I’ll be curious to see how this young team responds. We certainly put a lot of energy in to this game and we weren’t able to match our opponent. Are we going to be better than that (against Oral Roberts)? We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
The match against Oral Roberts is set for a 1 p.m. start Sunday at Razorback Field. Log on ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more details.