The Arkansas soccer team took care of business early with a decisive 6-1 victory over Stephen F. Austin in Fayetteville on Monday.
The Razorbacks exploded on offense in Monday’s match after scoring just three goals in the first three games of their season. Five Hogs scored, including senior midfielder Taylor Malham, who scored twice.
“I thought our movement was a lot better,” head coach Colby Hale said. “I thought our passing was better. I thought all those little details like the precision in the final third was better.”
Just over a minute into the game, senior forward Parker Goins scored a goal for the Razorbacks off an assist from junior forward Anna Podojil.
Arkansas kept the action fast and furious, outshooting the Lumberjacks 26-4 and keeping the ball inside the box for a large majority of the early minutes.
Fewer than 10 minutes in, senior midfielder Taylor Malham scored a goal after the ball pinballed between some Lumberjacks and Razorbacks close to the goal.
“We had a few good chances and good goals,” Malham said. “We had some subs come in and really impact the game. (We) just kept the level high throughout the game.”
Junior midfielder Jessica De Filippo went down after taking a shoulder to the head while trying to head the ball away. She returned and exited again moments later.
Podojil got in on the action, scoring a goal 21 minutes into the game that gave the Hogs a commanding 3-0 lead.
Later in the half, a shot bounced off the goalpost and Podojil kicked it into the net, but the referee called offside, overturning the goal.
The Razorbacks nearly scored a goal a minute before halftime, but it was called offside, and Arkansas took its 3-0 lead into the half.
The Razorbacks got back to work early in the second half. In the first five minutes, senior midfielder Kayla McKeon scored on an assist from Goins, and Malham scored her second goal of the game as Podojil picked up her second assist, giving Arkansas a crushing 5-0 lead.
Arkansas took an insurmountable 6-0 lead after a goal from sophomore forward Ava Tankersley. The goalie was out of the way after diving to save a shot and inadvertently hit the ball right to a waiting Tankersley.
Arkansas took its foot off of the gas for the last 30 minutes. The Hogs brought five subs in with 20 minutes left, before a heat break minutes later.
With just under 10 minutes left, there was a frightening collision of heads that left Razorback senior goalie Hannah Warner lying on the pitch. Play continued on and senior defender Carli Arthurs scored the only Lumberjack goal of the game.
Despite the goal, the Razorbacks played a great defensive game.
“(The defense is) just so tough,” Hale said. “They give up very little. They fight. They’re much better with the ball now. They’re playing great.”
Arkansas continued to keep fresh legs in the game, bringing in seven subs for the final seven minutes. Twenty different Razorbacks played 20 or more minutes.
“We have two more games this week,” Malham said. “So saving some of our legs and getting some more people in who needed some minutes is really important for us.”
The Razorbacks will travel to San Antonio to play in the UTSA Invitational. The first match will be against Eastern Washington at 5 p.m. Friday, September 10.