Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Alabama wins top-10 matchup over Arkansas with late penalty kick
Arkansas soccer balls are seen on the sideline, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, following the Razorbacks' 1-0 win over Texas A&M at Razorback Field in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
Alabama’s Ashlynn Serepca made a penalty kick in the 84th minute to give the second-ranked Crimson Tide a 2-1 victory over seventh-ranked Arkansas in the SEC’s most anticipated soccer matchup of the season Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Serepca was fouled by Arkansas’ Makenzie Malham inside the penalty box to earn the attempt with 6:15 remaining. She struck the ball to the right side of the net as Razorbacks goalkeeper Grace Barbara went the opposite way.
The Crimson Tide (14-1-1, 7-0 SEC) scored the first goals against Arkansas since the Razorbacks lost their SEC opener 2-0 at Mississippi State on Sept. 16.
Arkansas (10-3-1, 5-2) had a five-game win streak snapped and potentially lost its opportunity to claim a fourth consecutive SEC regular-season championship. The Razorbacks have three games remaining.
Ava Tankersley gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead with a running header in the 18th minute on a cross from Jessica De Filippo, but Alabama answered in the 26th minute when Gessica Shorka scored the equalizer.
Alabama out-shot Arkansas 17-13, but the Razorbacks had a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal. Crimson Tide goalkeeper McKinley Crone made five saves.
It was announced during halftime of the game that both teams were in the top eight of the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s rankings with less than one month remaining before the start of the postseason. Alabama was ranked fourth by the committee and Arkansas was ranked eighth.
The Crimson Tide improved to 5-0 in games against teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches poll, including 3-0 in games against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time.
Arkansas is scheduled to play again Thursday at home against LSU.
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