Andrew Joseph is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Arkansas soccer drops another SEC Tournament final
A soccer ball and Arkansas logo are seen, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, following the RazorbacksÕ 1-0 win over Texas A&M at Razorback Field in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/220930Daily/ for today's photo gallery..(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
The 10th-ranked Arkansas soccer team suffered multiple devastating losses in the SEC Tournament Championship match against Georgia in Pensacola, Fla., on Sunday afternoon.
The 1-0 loss to the Bulldogs dropped Arkansas to 0-9 all-time in SEC Tournament finals, including 0-7 since 2016.
More significant, the Razorbacks also lost the program’s all-time scoring leader, All-America forward Anna Podojil, to a non-contact injury.
She went down in pain after completing a pass in the 75th minute and had to be carried off by trainers. Podojil did not return and was shown on the sideline with an ice pack wrapped around her left knee.
The Bulldogs, who lost 2-1 at Arkansas on Oct. 5, recorded their first SEC championship via a tough-luck own goal from Razorback defender Makenzie Malham. UGA midfielder Mallie McKenzie whipped a cross in front of the goal that deflected off of Malham and crossed the goal line in the seventh minute.
The injury bug hit Arkansas before the match with transfer forward Morgan White scratched from the starting lineup, according to the SEC Network broadcast. She received medical treatment prior to the game and played 51 minutes off the bench.
Georgia conceded numerous goal-scoring opportunities after scoring early and packing it in on the defensive end. Goalkeeper Jordan Brown made seven saves, including a point-blank denial off a scrum in front of the goal with 30 seconds left to preserve the shutout.
Arkansas’ offense out-shot Georgia 18-7, but could not get the ball in the net. The Razorbacks often opted to launch long shots and crosses into the box instead of attempting to methodically break down a stout backline.
SEC midfielder of the year Bea Franklin put three shots on goal, including a deep strike that was destined for the top-right corner before Brown pushed it over the bar in the 27th minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Phoebe Carver was not tasked with much as the majority of the game was played in Arkansas’ attacking third. She made three saves, including a crucial stop on a breakaway to keep the Razorbacks in the match with less than five minutes remaining.
The own goal was the first score Carver and the Razorback defense had conceded after a string of three consecutive clean sheets.
Arkansas, the SEC regular-season champion, is still likely to be a high seed in the NCAA Tournament that begins Friday. The Razorbacks' tournament draw will be revealed Monday at 3 p.m.
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