Thursday was a night of milestones for No. 7 Arkansas Soccer, as the team took down the Alabama Crimson Tide 3-1 in Fayetteville.
With the victory over the Tide, the Razorbacks moved to 10-2 on the year. The win extended the program-record streak to 10 matches, and it was the 100th Southeastern Conference victory in program history.
Arkansas played true to form early on, scoring an early goal from sophomore forward Ava Tankersley in the 29th minute off a soaring pass by sophomore Kiley Dulaney. The Hogs had ample opportunity to tack on to their early lead but seemed to always be a touch out of sync in the opening half, either being offside or missing a crucial touch on multiple quality scoring chances.
Even though the Razorbacks kept the pressure on in the first half, the Tide managed to knot the game at 1-1 on its first real opportunity of the game. Alabama junior midfielder Macy Clem headed it in for the tying score in the 36th minute.
In the second half, Arkansas head coach Colby Hale made the tactical adjustment of putting another forward in the game, and that seemed to make all the difference for the Razorbacks. They scored two goals in quick succession. The first came on a header from senior defender Bryana Hunter, and the second from Dulaney.
“We just changed our shape,” Hale said, “We just needed an extra forward up front. We thought we could get a couple goals.”
The tactical adjustment led to quality chances off the counter-attack for Alabama in the second half, but the Arkansas defense and senior goalkeeper Hannah Warner kept the Tide off the board in the final period.
Freshman Sophia Aragon started for Arkansas and gave a quality performance. She had a breakaway in the second half that Alabama senior goalkeeper McKinley Crone saved. With Arkansas having an experienced core already, the contributions of the younger players have been a boon for the Razorbacks and greatly contributed to their recent success.
“That’s one of the best things about this team, you can’t stop just one or two players,” Hale said, “We have a different player step up for us every match.”
Dulaney was the one to step up for the Hogs on Thursday, scoring the first goal of her career and making the assist on the opening goal of the game. Her goal came after she briefly left the game when she knocked heads with Warner near the Arkansas goal.
“I almost started crying (after the goal),” Dulaney said, “But, then when we all celebrated, it made it even better.”
The Razorbacks were a dominant force once again as they outshot the Crimson Tide 17-10. In the last 10 matches, the Hogs have outscored their opponents 37-5.
Arkansas will look to continue the streak as it takes on Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. Sunday in Nashville. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.