The Arkansas Razorbacks’ soccer team has had a calendar month for the ages, entering the week fresh off a 1-0 conference win against Alabama and upsetting No. 1 North Carolina just a week ago.
This week’s rankings saw the Hogs jump from No. 16 to No. 13 before two key SEC matchups, the first of which took place Thursday night at Razorback Field against the 15th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores. Both teams entered the match with only one loss this season and a victory in their conference openers.
Neither squad was able to deliver a goal in the first half, but both had their share of offensive zone possessions. Arkansas controlled the early part of the half, allowing Vanderbilt to cross midfield only a few times.
“The first 25 (minutes) was maybe the best we’ve played since I’ve been here,” said Arkansas head coach Colby Hale.
Vandy conceded four corner kicks in those first 25 minutes, but senior goalkeeper Lauren Demarchi only had to make one save. After that, the Commodores seized control of the match, winning six corners and firing four out of their eight shots on target.
In the second half, both Arkansas and Vanderbilt took seven shots and won three corner kicks. After 25 minutes of prodding back and forth, the Razorbacks’ forwards put on a passing clinic and finally scored a goal. Senior Tori Cannata centered the ball from the left wing to freshman Anna Podojil, who teed it up for junior Parker Goins to drill home.
“I saw Tori (Cannata) doink it over the girl and then Anna (Podojil) turned and I knew she was going to get it across,” Goins said. “It was perfect placement.”
In the final 20 minutes, the Vanderbilt attack was unrelenting, but the Arkansas defense was up to the challenge each time. Though allowing the Commodores 15 shots, the Razorbacks emerged unscathed for the seventh straight match, winning this one 1-0. Senior goalkeeper Katie Lund finished the match with seven saves and her fourth consecutive shutout.
The Hogs return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina, against the No. 8 Gamecocks.
“They’re obviously really good,” Hale said. “We’ll have to get up for it, we’ll have to recover, but we’ll prepare like we do for everyone.”
Viewers can stream the match on SEC Network Plus, which is accessible on the ESPN app and WatchESPN.