2009 Arkansas Razorbacks Soccer Preview
In 2008 the lady razorbacks had a quite uneven season. A season that started with such promise during non-conference play rapidly took a wrong turn at the onset of SEC play. This downturn led to the thinking that the Lady Razorbacks may not in fact be as ready for the big time as their early season successes indicated.
Indeed the Lady Razorbacks managed to win the all but one of their first 10 contests, including their first two contests vs. SEC opponent, in Ole Miss and Mississippi State. However a double overtime loss to Georgia seemed to send the team awry. Following that great battle the Lady Razorbacks only managed to win two of their remaining eight matches. 2009 looks to be a chance for the returning players to prove that this team does in fact have the mettle to compete with the conference's elite. 2009 will also be an opportunity for the team's young players to step up and hopefully vault this team higher in the conference standings.
The Lady Razorbacks were led offensively by Lindsay Patterson who managed 15 points (six goals), as well as by Kelly O'Connor, who put the ball in the back of the net five times. Abbey Wilburn led the team in assists with four. In the net, the primary goalkeeper was Britni Williams. Williams played and started all 19 games over the course of the season, a season in which she a loud 1.28 goals per game. All told, she allowed 24 goals in while making 66 saves.
The Lady Razorbacks began competing in soccer back in 1986. And while the first season was disappointing (the team finished with a record of 3-9 that year), it was fairly quickly that the Arkansas women's soccer program moved into the realm of contender. In its second season it put up a record of 10-8. And despite some sliding back and forth in the standings, including a 3-10 record in 1988, from that point on the team generally was competitive at worst and above average in its better years.
In fact, moving into the 90's, the team became even more consistently strong. In 1991 the team posted an 11-8 mark, which was its best record to date. And in 1994 the team began Southeastern Conference play. This opened up an entire new world of possibilities when it came two elevating the program to a national scale.
Early seasons of SEC play were not easy. In fact, it took until 1996 before the team managed a winning record after joining the SEC. However, the level of play, generally speaking, was higher once SEC play began. A good illustration of the difficulty of winning in the SEC can be found in 2006. During that season, the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks experienced a not atypical 180 when transitioning from non-conference play to conference play. The team was 7-1 entering SEC conference play that season, and then, in the SEC, the team went only 3-6-2.
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