The No. 7 Razorback soccer team (10-2, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) returned to action with a dominant 7-0 shutout against Missouri State (1-3-1) on Tuesday night in Fayetteville.
To start the scoring, sophomore defender Reagan Swindall and senior defender Haley Van Fossen combined on a set piece that was strikingly similar to the fall season opening goal. Swindall leaped and latched onto a free-kick from Van Fossen to put the Hogs on top of the Bears in the 15th minute.
Arkansas head coach Colby Hale noted the defender’s attacking prowess in the air in a postgame press conference.
“Swindall has got to be one of the best players in the country at attacking headers,” Hale said.
From then on, the Razorbacks bombarded the opposing goal with a flurry of shot attempts.
Senior forward Parker Goins, who was selected in the third round of the NWSL Draft, got behind the defense on a breakaway and tried to lob the Missouri State goalkeeper, but her shot hit the onrushing keeper in the chest and was caught. Freshman forward Ava Tankersley blasted a couple of shots wide of the frame in the late stages of the opening half.
Despite the missed chances, the Razorbacks took a comfortable 3-0 lead into halftime after goals by sophomore forward Anna Podojil and freshman forward Ainsley Jeffrey. The goal was Jeffrey’s first of her collegiate career.
Arkansas dominated possession and became more clinical with its scoring chances in the second half.
“Our crossing and finishing got better as the game went on but there is a lot to get better at,” Hale said.
The Hogs spread the scoring load throughout the team with six different goalscorers. Podojil was the only Razorback to score more than once. Hale emphasized the importance of having multiple goalscorers on the team.
“Ainsley scored her first goal. Hale said. Ty (Runnels) scored a goal. Mckenna (Saul) was dangerous,” “I thought the versatility in our attack was really good.”
Arkansas outshot the Bears, 30-2, and held a 10-0 advantage on corner kicks.
Although the Razorbacks dominated in all statistical categories, Hale rejected any notion of complacency with the victory.
“We have high standards, and for a first game, I thought it was really good,” Hale said. “It was a good test and we’ve got to keep focusing on growth and progress.”
Arkansas will host Saint Louis University (4-0) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 12 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to SLU,” Hale said. “They’re going to test us in a lot of ways and we’re excited for that test.”