Second round soccer preview

Arkansas soccer players celebrate together during the team’s 5-1 first round victory over Northwestern State. The Hogs will battle Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Arkansas Soccer is set to face Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Razorback Field. It is the first time the Hogs have hosted the second round in program history.

The second-seeded Razorbacks are coming off a commanding 5-1 victory over Northwestern State in the opening round of the tournament Nov. 12.

The first-round game tipped in the Razorbacks’ favor quickly after senior Taylor Malham’s score in the game’s fourth minute. The Arkansas momentum kept the Lady Demons off the board in the first half, with a 4-0 score at halftime. The Razorbacks and Lady Demons traded goals in the second half, but the Hogs held on for the victory.

Arkansas was able to give the starters some much needed rest during the match, with all 22 members of the squad getting playing time. The rest was vital for a Razorback team that played four matches in nine days during the SEC Tournament.

“We got some players some much needed rest,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said in the postgame press conference. “We will clean some things up and get ready for a good Virginia Tech team.”

The Hokies had similar results in their first round of the NCAA Tournament, winning 3-1 over Ohio State. Virginia Tech midfielder Emily Gray, the Atlantic Coast Conference scoring leader, became the No. 2 all-time scorer in program history with her opening goal in the 12th minute.

The Razorbacks and the Hokies met in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018, when Virginia Tech defeated the Hogs 1-0.

The match is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed on SEC Network+. If Arkansas pushes through to the third round, it will mark the second straight Sweet 16 appearance for Hale’s Razorbacks.

Purdue and third-seeded Notre Dame will play in Fayetteville at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The winner of that game will play the winner of Arkansas versus Virginia Tech in the third round of the tournament at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

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