With six games played so far this season, the Arkansas Razorback soccer team has only allowed six goals, giving them the best start defensively since 2013, when they allowed three in the same number of games. Credit for that feat should be given to the two faces fans have seen between the goalposts.
Freshman Rachel Harris and redshirt junior Jordan Harris are sharing the responsibility of the starting goalkeeper spot for the team as they try to make history again after the Hogs allowed just 26 goals last season, the lowest they have allowed in the past five years.
So far this season, Rachel Harris has played 411 minutes while only allowing six goals and making 11 saves. She had four saves against both No. 1 Penn State and James Madison.
“I thought Rachel played absolutely tremendous (vs. James Madison),” coach Colby Hale said.
Before coming to Arkansas, Rachel Harris was a standout goalie at Huntington Beach High School in California. In her four years with the team, Rachel Harris accumulated 188 saves, five shutouts and only allowed 0.7 goals per game. She finished top five in the nation in fewest goals against and goals against average during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons for her high school as well.
In addition to success with her high school team, Rachel Harris led her Huntington Beach club team, Slammers FC, to the Elite Clubs National League Championship in 2016. She also finished this tournament as the keeper with the fewest goals against.
“(Rachel) has great instincts, quickness and is tremendous with her feet,” Hale told the Arkansas Razorback website when recruiting her. “She has that ‘it’ factor you look for in a great goalkeeper. She plays with a swagger and confidence that make everyone in front of her believe she has it covered.”
As for Jordan Harris, her individual soccer career is just as impressive. In her sophomore season with the Hogs, she recorded 33 saves and logged a 66-percent save percentage. Her best performance in that season was when she recorded a season- and career-high eight saves in a 2-1 loss to Ole Miss on Oct. 9, 2015.
In 2016, Jordan Harris played backup to senior Cameron Carter, who set the bar high for her and Rachel after a stellar season and finished her Razorback collegiate career as the second all-time leader in games started (73), goals against average (1.23) and shutouts (20.1).
After Carter left the team, Jordan started in all of the Hogs’ games during the 2017 spring season, only allowing one goal in over 270 minutes of action. Now, in her 135 minutes of game time this season, Jordan has not let a single goal between the posts to date. Jordan has six saves so far in two games, with a season high five saves in a 2-0 win against North Texas on Aug. 20, 2017.
“Rachel and Jordan are both excellent goalkeepers and we have our full trust in both of them,” senior defender Jessi Hartzler said. “Them competing every single day will make both of them better.”
With twice the talent between the posts, Hartzler says she thinks the line of defense can help out both goalies to make their job easier.
“I think we could be more resilient in the red zone,” Hartzler said. “Whenever the other teams are in shooting range we gotta block stuff and make the shots hard for them, and the goalies can just clean it up.”
Talent in the goalkeeping position is hard to come by, but Hale said he thinks that with both Rachel Harris and Jordan Harris, they have that position more than covered.
“We feel like we have two starting keepers and we’ve told them that,” Hale said.
With the way both Rachel and Jordan Harris are playing, the Hogs look to keep their defensive momentum going, even in critical game situations.
“Honestly, whenever the pressure is on, I have full faith in both of them to step up to the plate,” Hartzler said.
For its next game, Arkansas will travel to Connecticut to face the Huskies on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Staff Reporter Sven Larson contributed to this report.