Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
No. 7 Razorbacks learning from adversity
Arkansas' Anna Podojil (16) fights for possession during a game against Stephen F. Austin on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas women’s soccer Coach Colby Hale said his team has dealt with adversity plenty this season. It was more of the same on Sunday.
The No. 7 Razorbacks were forced to push back the start time of their match at Georgia four hours because of travel issues. In addition, they had just 18 players available because of injuries and other issues that Hale wouldn’t elaborate upon.
Arkansas (9-2, 4-0 SEC) had no problems on the field though, scoring three goals in the first eight minutes en route to its ninth consecutive victory — 4-1 over Georgia.
Hale said the team and coaches had confidence in the players that made the trip to take care of business.
“We weren’t concerned at all,” Hale said. “It’s part of our culture. We say there are no excuses. We have enough players. We like the players we have. Let’s go.
“We have incredibly mature, talented players. We have good leadership. It didn’t affect them at all. They’re mentally tough.”
Junior forward Anna Podojil, the team’s leading scorer, was one of the players not available Sunday. Her status is day-to-day, said Hale, who wouldn’t be more specific about the nature of the issue.
Hale also confirmed junior Jessica De Filippo, a transfer from Louisville, suffered a season-ending injury in the Razorbacks’ win over Ole Miss on Sept. 26. She accounted for 2 goals and 3 assists in 9 matches this season.
He said the Razorbacks have dealt with players being out for various reasons at different times this season.
“[Reagan] Swindall didn’t play in the second half at [Texas] A&M because of something with her eye and the doctor had to check it out,” Hale said. “Jess and Bea [Franklin] missed time with concussions. We’ve had a lot and they just keep finding ways to win.”
Next up is Alabama (7-6, 2-2) tonight at Razorback Field. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m for the match which will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
The Crimson Tide are coming off a 1-0 win over then-No. 24 LSU on Friday. Junior midfielder Reyna Reyes netted the only goal of that match five minutes left in regulation for the Crimson Tide and earned SEC co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Hale said Alabama has played the Razorbacks tough in recent years.
“The games have been really competitive and we expect more of the same,” Hale said. “They are gonna player hard. They’re really good with the ball.”
Hale said the choice to travel the day of the game is something the Razorbacks have done before without any issues. But Sunday was different.
“There was kind of a funny sound and one of the engines stopped,” Hale said. “But they did a great job and just said, ‘We’re gonna land and check it out.’ ”
The plane landed in Memphis, but the problem could not be determined.
“They flew us in a new plane, pushed the game back a few hours, we got on the plane and played,” Hale said.
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