Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
UA soccer hauls in SEC postseason honors
Arkansas forward Parker Goins (22) leads the ball, Monday, September 6, 2021 during a soccer game at Razorback Field in Fayetteville.
The University of Arkansas women’s soccer team dominated the SEC this season and pulled off a haul of postseason honors, which were announced Sunday by the league office.
Parker Goins was named SEC Midfielder of the Year and joined teammates Bryana Hunter, Anna Podojil and Taylor Malham on the All-SEC first team. Hunter was also selected as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Kayla McKeon was selected to the All-SEC second team.
Arkansas Coach Colby Hale was happy for the recognition his players received, but acknowledged he thought at least one deserving Razorback was passed over.
“I’m super happy for those kids,” Hale said. “You could argue Parker was the best player in the conference this year. She was super deserving. They all were. But there’s a couple on there that didn’t make it that I felt were deserving, most notably Haley VanFossen. Sometimes when you have, in my opinion, three of the best defenders in the league they start splitting votes.
“Haley VanFossen definitely shoulda been on there. You could argue [Ava] Tankersley and Kylie Dulaney and Emily Hauser, they are every bit as good as some of the other players that made the league. We’re happy for the one’s who made it and we’ll look to go win some more games.”
VanFossen, a senior from Broken Arrow, Okla., earned All-SEC first-team honors in each of the last three seasons and was a third-team All-American in 2019. But was shut out this season.
No. 4 Arkansas (14-3) claimed its third consecutive SEC regular-season title and heads into the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala., as the No. 1 seed. The Razorbacks had their school-record 14-match winning streak snapped on Thursday at LSU to finish 9-1 in the league and a combined 24-3-1 in the SEC over the last three seasons.
Arkansas earned a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament and opens play against today’s Georgia-LSU winner at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.
Goins set the school’s all-time points record, scoring her 105th with her goal in Arkansas’ 6-1 win over Missouri on Oct. 15. She also has the most assists in program history with 32. Goins has nine goals this season and leads the Razorbacks in assists (8), shots (51) and shots on-goal (27).
Hunter leads all Arkansas position players in minutes with 1,441. As a defender, she has scored two goals this season and notched one assist. Hunter currently holds a 3.98 grade-point average as a biochemistry major.
Podojil leads the Razorbacks with 11 goals and 28 points and leads the SEC averaging two points-per-game. This is her third consecutive appearance on the All-SEC first team. Malham returns to the all-conference squad after being selected in 2019. Malham has netted seven goals for the Hogs this season.
McKeon broke the school’s all-time games played record earlier this season and currently sits at 102. She has started all but one match this season and has notched five goals and six assists. She scored two goals in the 6-1 victory over Missouri.
Forward Sophia Aragon was voted to the SEC All-Freshman team. She has played in every match this season, playing an average of 43 minutes, leading all Arkansas freshmen. She has also contributed five assists.
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