Soccer opens SEC play with Mississippi

FAYETTEVILLE – After a strong 7-2-0 start, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team is ready to open Southeastern Conference play on Friday night against the University of Mississippi at Lady’Back Field beginning at 7:00.

Friday night’s clash is the first time that Arkansas has opened its conference schedule against Mississippi since the 1999 season and the third time in 14 years of SEC action. In Arkansas’ previous SEC openers with the Lady Rebels it has gone 0-2, losing both games by identical 2-1 scores.

“Our players are very excited about what they did during the non-conference season,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We are comfortable with our starting lineup and the system of play and well ahead of where we were last year at this time. Every game in the SEC is going to be tough and I think this year there is more parity in the league than there has ever been.”

Entering Friday night’s match, Arkansas is among the conference and nation’s leaders in goals against average, shutouts and winning percentage. The Lady Razorbacks are the owners of seven wins this fall compared to just three for the Lady Rebels. The Lady Razorback defense is going to have to be on its game if the Lady’Backs hope to pick up a huge SEC opening victory.

Arkansas and Mississippi have one common opponent on their schedules from the non-conference season, Memphis, a squad that both teams lost to. Arkansas dropped its second game of the season to the Tigers, 2-1 in double overtime, while the Lady Rebels fell 1-0 to Memphis last weekend.

The Lady Razorbacks are looking to break the strangle hold that Mississippi has had on them for the past several years. Arkansas struggled in Oxford last year getting shut out, 2-0, but rebounded nicely in its next match with a 3-0 victory over Mississippi State. Mississippi is once again strong defensively making Friday night’s match a struggle for either team. Both squads are allowing less than one goal per match through the non-conference season, but offensively, the Lady Razorbacks appear to be stronger with 21 goals through nine matches compared to Mississippi’s nine through eight games.

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