The Arkansas Razorbacks dropped points for the first time this season after a 2-1 loss against No. 15 South Carolina Friday night at Razorback Field. The Hogs came into the match ranked third in the nation, according to the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
Arkansas and South Carolina are now tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with 12 points each and 4-1-0 records to boot.
The match between the SEC heavyweights got off to a slow start with neither side creating a legitimate goal-scoring opportunity through the first 30 minutes.
South Carolina freshman forward Corina Zullo opened the scoring in the 37th minute with her first collegiate goal. She sent a looping header over Arkansas goalkeeper Alexis Bach and just under the crossbar.
Arkansas went into halftime facing its first deficit of the year, but the Hogs managed to even the score through a deflection by sophomore forward Anna Podojil. The reigning SEC Freshman of the Year stepped in front of a clearance from Gamecock goalkeeper Heather Hinz and the ricochet bounced over the goal line.
Podojil currently leads the SEC with nine points from three goals and three assists.
While the Razorbacks totaled 14 shots in the game, only seven of them were on target. Arkansas converted only one of those seven shots on frame, while South Carolina needed just eight shot attempts to score twice.
The Gamecocks displayed their clinical nature in the 71st minute when redshirt sophomore midfielder Samantha Chang latched onto a long pass behind the Arkansas defense and tucked the ball into the bottom left corner for the game-winner. The strike was Chang’s first goal of the season.
South Carolina came within inches of scoring for the third time in the 82nd minute. Redshirt junior Claire Griffiths smacked a long-distance shot that had gotten behind the Arkansas goalkeeper but was denied by the goalpost.
The last few minutes of the game were frantic as the Razorbacks pushed numbers forward in a desperate attempt at an equalizer. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks blocked several shots right up until the buzzer sounded.
It was the second home defeat in 24 games throughout the last three seasons for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, for their upcoming match against Ole Miss. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.