No. 7 Razorback soccer defeated the No. 15 Auburn Tigers, 2-1, in its last home game of that season at Razorback Field Friday night. The win secured Arkansas’ second consecutive Southeastern Conference West Division title.
Senior forward Parker Goins and sophomore forward Anna Podojil led the Hogs’ offense and carried the team to victory against Auburn, consistent with their season-long performance. The duo connected for a goal and an assist each.
Podojil put the Hogs ahead in the 13th minute after she ran down a through ball from Goins and chipped the oncoming Auburn goalkeeper. Six minutes later, Podojil returned the favor and whipped a cross to Goins, who tapped in her third goal of the season.
Arkansas head coach Colby Hale praised his team’s offense, which leads the SEC with 116 total shots.
“It was just tremendous buildup...the runs were fantastic,” Hale said, when discussing the two goals the Hogs scored in a postgame Zoom conference.
Auburn’s best chance of the first half came from an errant clearance from Razorback goalkeeper Taylor Beitz that fell to an opposing attacker while Beitz was outside of the goal box but the Tigers failed to put the attempt on target.
In the final minutes of the first half, freshman midfielder Ellie Podojil went down in pain after a hard tackle and had to be helped off the field by trainers. Hale rushed onto the field during the injury timeout and was given a yellow card following an animated discussion with the head referee.
Hale, the reigning SEC Coach of the Year, voiced his desire for his team to be more clinical in the attacking third.
“We should have scored a few more,” Hale said. “We missed a couple of sitters in the beginning of the second half that would have put the game away,”
Coming out of halftime, the Hogs created a plethora of goal-scoring opportunities in the first 15 minutes but failed to convert them.
Freshman forward Ava Tankersley sent a header from point-blank range over the crossbar in the 54th minute of the match. Moments later, junior forward Nayeli Perez served a dangerous cross into the box but Goins whiffed on her shot attempt.
In the 58th minute, Tankersley put the ball into the net but was flagged offside.
The Hogs’ defense was compact and organized throughout the majority of the match, but was caught out of position in the 76th minute when Auburn senior defender Alyssa Malonson pulled one back for the Tigers. The outside back dribbled forward and rocketed a shot from a tight angle past Beitz at the near post for her first goal of the year.
Despite conceding late in the match, Arkansas locked down the Auburn offense to preserve the 2-1 final score.
Hale said he admired his team’s ability to see the game through from start to finish.
“That is kind of going to be the legacy of this team is just grinding out results,” Hale said.
Arkansas has the opportunity to claim the SEC conference crown with a victory next week.
“We have to win on Friday in order to do that so I think we’ll be good and motivated,” Hale said about his squad’s championship ambitions.
The Razorbacks will finish up the regular season with a trip to Starkville, Mississippi, to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.