Freshman Scores First Goal of Season
As one of the many electrifying young players on the Arkansas Razorbacks soccer team, Ashleigh Ellenwood is looking to make a name for herself as a true freshman.
Ten minutes into her first collegiate game against Austin Peay on Aug. 17, Ellenwood buried a shot in the right side of the net for her first goal of the season. She is the starting forward for Arkansas, who were 3-0 through Aug. 23.
Ellenwood is from Michigan City, Ind. about 60 miles outside of Chicago. She was a standout tennis and basketball player as well, but mainly participated for the fun of it. Soccer was her true area of expertise. Ellenwood chose Arkansas after other potential suitors, including Northwestern and Ball State, showed interest in her.
“I wanted to come play in a big conference, and the Southeastern Conference is definitely a big conference,” Ellenwood said.
She spent time in high school on the Eclipse Select team based out of the Chicago area, and is looking forward to playing against her former club teammate Ali Hall who is now at Tennessee. It was on that club team that she began playing the forward position she is now excelling at for the Razorbacks.
Her play at the club level attracted the interest of Arkansas head coach Colby Hale. Coach Hale commands a different style than Ellenwood is used to, but she has had little problem adjusting to that style so far.
“Usually as a forward you like to score goals, but he likes to keep things compact and then go on the counter attack,” Ellenwood said.
Starting off college and the season in the same week would be challenging for most, especially for a biochemistry major. But she has quite the support system of fellow teammates to ease the transition.
“It’s been hard at first, but my teammates have definitely been there for me. A lot of the of the older girls have definitely helped me adapt to the new life,” Ellenwood said.
Despite having one of the toughest schedules in the country – facing five ranked teams – Ellenwood didn’t back down from what she was expecting from the team and herself this season.
“We definitely want to make it to the SEC tournament, and we are setting the expectations higher than they have ever been before,” Ellenwood said.
When coach Hale arrived at Arkansas in December from central Florida, he brought with him his mindset and mentality that working hard and wanting it more gets the job done. His mantra applies not only on the field but also in the classroom.
One of the few core values Hale preaches to his team is “grinding,” Ellenwood said. They even simulate that type of style in practice. If they are able to grind out wins and keep their early season momentum going, expect Arkansas and Ellenwood to score goals and compete well into the season.