The Razorbacks (17-3-2, 8-1-1) defeated the North Texas Mean Green (15-5-2, 7-2-1) 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in front of a rowdy 1,331 fans at Razorback Field on Friday night.
Although it took the Razorbacks almost 60 minutes to find the back of the net, Arkansas was dominant in its win against a deflated North Texas squad.
“I thought it was a really complete, we don’t use the word, but dominating performance,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “I thought we were good on both sides of the ball. Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with the performance.”
Arkansas struggled to score in the first half, they had 16 shots, five on target, but Arkansas’ strong second half nullified their frustrating first half. UNT could not stop Arkansas in the last 45, as Arkansas found the target with five of their 10 shots, and three of them finding the back of the net.
UNT relied heavily on their starters, with eight of the 11 playing a full 90 minutes. Arkansas ended with 26 shots, 10 on target, and 11 corners. UNT finished with one shot, which was on target, and zero corners.
“We pretty much dominated them from the beginning, they kind of let us go at them but we could not get our shots,” senior goalkeeper Katie Lund said.
Two of the Hogs’ three goals came within a three-minute span, as the floodgates seemed to open after the first goal.
The roar of vuvuzelas was heard around Fayetteville as senior defender Marissa Kinsey whipped in a corner kick that found the head of senior forward Tori Cannata for the Razorbacks’ first goal of the postseason in the 55th minute. It was Cannata’s sixth goal of the season, the fifth-most on the team.
“Once we got that first goal, we knew that we would just get on a roll and keep going at them,” Lund said.
The Razorbacks’ top two point-scorers, junior forward Parker Goins and freshman forward Anna Podojil connected for the Razorbacks’ second goal in the 82nd minute. Podojil took a shot from about 25 yards that the goalkeeper could not corral, and Goins tapped it in for her 10th goal of the season.
Goins and Podojil have combined for 24 goals this year, which is more than half of their team total of 37. Podojil’s 14 goals and Goins’ 10 assists rank among the top-20 in the NCAA.
Kinsey added another assist a little more than two minutes after Goins’ goal, when her shot struck the crossbar and landed on the goal line, where sophomore midfielder Kaelee Van Gundy nudged it in for her first goal of the year. Van Gundy was without a goal or an assist in the 17 games she had appeared in this year.
Kinsey was the only Razorback with more than one goal contribution on the night. Her two assists give her a total of 10 this year, which is the most on the team.
Arkansas will face NC State in the next round November 21 at 4 p.m. in Provo, Utah.
Photos curtesy of Craven Whitlow
CW3, Sports Action