Soccer opens SEC play at home

FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team takes its seven-match winning streak into its toughest match of the season on Friday night when it opens Southeastern Conference play against the University of Kentucky at Lady’Back Field at 7:00 p.m.

Arkansas picked up tremendous wins on the road last weekend when it defeated Tulsa and Memphis with a pair of shutouts, but the challenge on Friday night should be much tougher than anything the Lady’Backs have seen this season.

“I think that what we need to understand is that both Kentucky and Vanderbilt are quality opponents,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “Both are regionally ranked and are probably just outside the top 30 in the nation. These matches are going to be the toughest that we have played this year. We’ll come into both games as underdogs, but that’s the way that I like it. We will have nothing to fear or to lose and can just go out and play.”

The Lady Razorbacks and Kentucky Wildcats have played some memorable matches over the past several years with Kentucky picking up a late win in two of the last three seasons. The 2004 match in Fayetteville went a full 110 minutes and ended in a 1-1 tie. Arkansas’ two heartbreaking losses in Lexington happened in overtime and with 24 seconds left in regulation.

“I think that good teams create their own luck,” Henderson said. “Good teams create opportunities and if you look at our start this year you can see that. Friday’s game will be very interesting as both teams have aspirations to play at the SEC Tournament and beyond and we both need a win to achieve that. This should be a great game.”

Arkansas enters SEC action with its best record in school history having dropped just one non-conference contest. Since their opening day loss, the Lady Razorbacks have won seven straight games including all four of their home contests and are looking to preserve their unblemished home record.

The Lady Razorbacks also hope to ward off the problems of past seasons and have their statement game. The Arkansas-Kentucky match could be that game as the Lady’Backs have not defeated the Wildcats since 1994.

Kentucky enters Friday’s SEC opener with a 5-3-1 non-conference record and have taken on some very difficult sides. In the Wildcats three losses to Cincinnati, Louisville and Wisconsin, the combined score has been just 4-1 and senior goalkeeper Anne Ogundele leads the SEC in saves and shutouts and is second in the conference in goals against average.

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