Lady'Backs post shutout in home opener
FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Katie Hamilton scored the second game-winning goal of her career on Friday night as the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team handed Northeastern State University a crushing 4-0 defeat at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 2-1-0 on the season and gives Arkansas’ its fourth consecutive home opening win while Northeastern State falls to 0-2-1.
“I felt that this was a solid team performance,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “I thought that some of our players were very good including Kylee Mesler, Katie Hamilton and Kathleen Paulsen. All three came off the bench tonight and gave us a spark that we have not had here before. I loved the fact that we got the shutout tonight. I am sure that I’m like every coach and love getting that shutout. We know as a team that to be successful this season we need to limit our opponents opportunities and we did that tonight.”
Hamilton entered the match in the 22nd minute on an Arkansas throw in and wouldscore the game’s first goaljust nine minutes later. Surging down the left side,Rachel Smithsent a cross well past the Lady Reds goal that Hamilton was able to settle, and then shoot past a diving Northeastern State goalkeeper. The score was Hamilton’s first of the season and Smith’s third assist of the season.
A 1-0 game at the half, Arkansas came out in the second and delivered a mighty blow less than five minutes into the second 45 minute period when Christina Burger scored her first goal of the season and 21st of her career. Settling a ball that was played high into the air, Burger took several touches to open a lane for her shot, and then sent a 10-yard strike to the far post eluding the Northeastern goalkeeper. Burger’s goal places her alone in sixth place on Arkansas’ all-time scoring charts, three goals behind former Lady’Back Heather Cato for fifth.
With a comfortable lead, Arkansas dominated possession and forced Northeastern State to win balls in its defensive third, tiring the Lady Reds defenders. The culmination of Arkansas’ efforts paid dividends in the final 20 minutes as Arkansas tallied a pair of late strikes including one with just 25 seconds left on the clock.
Freshman Kim Schleif would score Arkansas’ third goal of the match when she took a feed from sophomore Abbey Wilburn near the top of the penalty area and knocked in a pinpoint curving ball to the right side of the goal. The Lady Razorbacks’ final strike came off a corner kick with the clock winding down. Freshman Kat Moffett was able to win the corner right of the goal, then rather than wait for both teams to settle in, immediately took the ball to the corner flag and sent a cross to the middle of the goal where junior Allison Harris headed it off the keeper, then the crossbar and finally into the goal.
Senior goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver was instrumental in the Arkansas shutout making two saves including one that on any given day should have been a goal. Northeastern State took a corner midway through the second half and used their 6-1 striker to shield Dillsaver from the flight of the ball. The corner would eventually find Charlotte Dinsdale just in front of the goal line, but her header was plucked out of the air by Dillsaver who made an astonishing play on the shot.
The shutout by Dillsaver is her first of the season and 12th of her illustrious career tying her for second on Arkansas’ all-time charts with former Lady’Back Holly Smith.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they welcome 2005 NCAA Tournament team Liberty University to Lady’Back Field for a 1:00 p.m. contest. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.