Lady'Backs work draw with Kentucky
FAYETTEVILLE – For the second straight game freshman Sarah Gwisdala scored for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team, but a relentless Kentucky Wildcat attack netted the equalizer in the closing moments as the two teams played to a 1-1 tie at Lady’Back Field in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
The tie brings Arkansas’ record to 5-4-1 on the season and 1-0-1 in Southeastern Conference play, while Kentucky moves to 4-4-1 overall and 1-0-1 in league action. Arkansas’ SEC record gives it four points on the results table placing it in second place in the conference’s western division.
“Overall, looking at the weekend, if you had asked me if I would have taken four points, I would have said yes,” Arkansas head soccer coach Gordon Henderson said. “I am very pleased with the way that we played and thought that we were much better today. We were able to limit their opportunities while creating many of our own.”
On a very warm Sunday afternoon, the two teams played most of the first half in the midfield as they jockeyed for position and possession. Arkansas’ defense was strong throughout the half, limiting its opponent to just two shots with both coming over the final eight minutes of the 45-minute period. On the flip side, Arkansas took five shots in the half which eventually played without a goal.
In the second period, the Lady Razorbacks looked just as strong as they had in the first, but Kentucky was just as ready to start the half which led to more tussles throughout the field. Still tied at zero, Gwisdala took it upon herself to score game’s first goal when she dribbled around several defenders and took a left footed shot from the top of the penalty area. The boot lofted in the air and sailed over the Kentucky goalkeeper into the far side of the net for the opening score. The goal is Gwisdala’s team leading sixth tally of the season.
Moving to a defensive mindset, the Lady Razorbacks were a tough side to figure out as Kentucky was unable to create much of anything on Arkansas’ back four and keeper. That was until the Wildcats forced a corner kick in the 86th minute. On the set play, Kristen Jedlo sent a cross to the center of the mixer, six yards from the goal line and found Kristin Moyer who headed it into the back of the net to tie the score at one.
The Lady Razorbacks did not allow the score phase their thoughts, in fact, it refocused the squad and they dominated the final five minutes of action. Getting numerous opportunities, the best came on a turn around shot by sophomore Christina Burger who pinged the inside of the post from 16 yards, but the rebound rolled harmlessly out of the penalty area where it was cleared by the Wildcat defense.
The two overtime periods were a tale of who could grab the initial momentum. In the first, Arkansas built on its second half intensity and took four shots on the Kentucky goal as opposed to none from the Wildcats, but the second was all Kentucky as they took three shots to Arkansas’ zero.
The Lady Razorback tie and subsequent 1-0-1 conference record is the first time since 1995 that an Arkansas team was undefeated through its first two matches and the tie snapped a six-match losing streak to the Wildcats that dates back to 1994.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday, Oct. 1, when they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.