Arkansas opens SEC Tournament with shutout victory

By: Matt Jones
Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2019
A soccer ball sits on the field prior to a game between Arkansas and Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by David Beach
A soccer ball sits on the field prior to a game between Arkansas and Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.

Arkansas won its first game as the top seed at the Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament on Tuesday.

The Razorbacks defeated No. 8 seed Ole Miss 1-0 in the tournament quarterfinals in Orange Beach, Ala.

Arkansas (15-2-2) advanced to the tournament semifinals for the fourth consecutive season and will play No. 5 seed Florida on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

Taylor Malham, a junior midfielder, scored the game’s only goal when she was successful on a penalty kick in the 24th minute. Ole Miss goalkeeper Ashley Orkus guessed correctly on Malham’s attempt to the right, but the ball went behind her. It was Malham’s eighth goal.

The penalty kick was set up when Arkansas’ Parker Goins drew a hand ball by Ole Miss’ Madison Smith in the penalty box. The Razorbacks are 5-for-5 on penalty kicks this season.

"Ole Miss is a good team. We knew they were going to come out here and give us a fight the entire time," Malham said. "We just had to give it our all. I'm really proud of us for fighting through and getting the win."

The Rebels (10-7-3) out-shot the Razorbacks 9-8, including 6-3 on goal.

Arkansas goalkeeper Katie Lund had six saves in her 12th shutout of the season. Lund had two saves in the final 10 minutes - a diving save to her left in the 81st minute to block an attempt by Gabby Little from 18 yards, and Saydie Holland’s desperation roller from outside the box as time expired.

"This time of year is all about survive and advance," Arkansas coach Colby Hale said. "We did that."

Arkansas improved to 8-3 at the SEC Tournament since 2016. The Razorbacks have lost in the championship game the past three seasons.

The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels for the second time this season. Arkansas won 3-0 on Oct. 3 in Fayetteville.

Arkansas has not played Florida (11-7-1) this season. The Gators were tied with the Razorbacks atop the SEC standings with one week remaining in the regular season, but went 0-2-1 in their final three games.

Florida defeated No. 4 seed Texas A&M 2-1 in the quarterfinal round.

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