Senior night can't change soccer's luck
FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team came out with a fury on Friday night but despite the added emphasis of senior night, Arkansas was unable to solve the LSU Tigers defense at Lady’Back Field, dropping their final match of the season, 1-0 in overtime.
As it has most of the season, Arkansas’ defense came up with multiple stops, frustrating the LSU Tigers to take long shots from 25 yards. Each of the barrages was easily handled by both Arkansas goalkeepers on the night, freshman Britni Williams and sophomore Jackie Booker. The two teams would fight valiantly for 90-plus minutes before LSU would eventually score the game-winner nearly seven minutes into the first extra period.
“I thought that this was a well played and attractive game to watch,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “Both teams came here ready to play and because of that commitment from our players I couldn’t be happier. Our fans were also ready and have been incredible all season long. Despite our struggles, the fans stuck with us and I am as proud of the Razorback fans as I am with the players tonight.”
Arkansas’ fans came out in force on the final match of the season. Easily drowning out the small contingent of LSU supporters in the crowd on corner kicks, Arkansas’ fan base called the Hogs on numerous occasions prompting the Arkansas bench to join in an effort to rally the team.
The game-winning strike by LSU would not come on one of the Tigers long shots but instead as the result of crisp passing that led to a 1-v-1 with Williams. The Tigers Taryne Boudreau and Michelle Makasini moved the ball quickly from the center circle up the field before threading a pass between two Arkansas defenders and leaving the SEC’s leading scorer Rachel Yepez alone against Williams. Yepez would take two short touches before sending a shot to the near post that barely beat Williams to her right and ended the match at 96:43.
While the Lady Razorbacks may not have had any goals, it did create several opportunities. Playing defense for a good portion of the opening half, Arkansas retaliated and dominated the final 15 minutes. That play by the Lady Razorbacks would keep LSU pinned inside its penalty area, but despite several Lady Razorback shots, nothing could sneak by Valerie Vogler who came up with three saves on the night.
“For this team to keep playing throughout this season is wonderful to see,” Henderson said. “The way that we played games is certainly a testament to the future of the program. We are certainly sad to see our seniors leave, but the future is very, very bright.”
With the final match of 2007 behind it, Arkansas loses the services of Sarah Gwisdala, Allison Harris and Ali Harter to graduation. Harris’ start in her final match moved her to second on Arkansas’ all-time list for games started at 78, one behind the school record of Holly Collins.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.