Aug. 27, 2010
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
For the first time in this young season, the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team drew first blood Friday night against Arkansas. And, for the first time in program history, the Ladyjacks came away with a win against a Southeastern Conference opponent, as SFA got two goals from sophomore Kylie Louw in a 2-1 verdict against the Razorbacks.
In five prior contests against SEC competition - including a 3-0 defeat at Arkansas last season - SFA (2-1-0) had failed to register a victory and had just one goal to show for its troubles. But the Ladyjacks turned in a stellar defensive effort against the Razorbacks' quick-strike attack and made the most of their offensive chances in Friday's winning effort.
"We really wanted to improve off of Sunday's performance," head coach Tony Amato said, referencing last weekend's 3-1 loss at Rice. "We trained all week and talked about being competitive. We really worked on improving our defensive responsibilities. We put a gameplan together for Arkansas, the girls followed it, executed to a T, and the final result was a 2-1 win."
SFA got a gritty performance from its back line, as defenders Kelli Barnes, Edwina Forbes, Jordyn Young and Jordan King played all 90 minutes against a speedy and aggressive Arkansas attack. The quartet limited Arkansas (1-1-0) to just five first-half shot attempts, only two of which were on goal. At the other end of the field, SFA managed to get three shots off, including one attempt on goal by Laura Sadler, but the contest went to intermission in a scoreless tie.
"We told them that because of the way we wanted to play tonight, we would probably only have three or four chances each half," Amato said. "We talked about executing in the final third, having faith in front of the net and emphasized that we thought it would only take one or two goals because of how hard we were going to work on defense."
The first goal came in the 51st minute on SFA's first real scoring opportunity of the second half. Sadler worked a give-and-go with Brenda Salazar and dribbled in tight from the left side. She lined up a quick shot on the move, but it was deflected off an Arkansas defender. The ball rolled toward the right side of the box where Louw was waiting to put it into the back of an empty net.
Arkansas responded nine minutes later with an equalizer. Laurel Pastor initiated the opportunity with a long ball ahead down the left sideline for Allie Chandler. Chandler worked her way in from the wing, then sent an arcing cross over to Kelsey Allison. She settled the pass, then tucked a shot inside the far post to tie the game in the 59th minute.
The Razorbacks attempted four shots over the next 10 minutes, with one banging off the crossbar and SFA goalkeeper Courtney Bauder recording saves on two others.
Louw and the Ladyjacks went back on the attack in the 72nd minute, though. She and Janae Lee worked in tandem to penetrate the Arkansas defense from the right side. Lee attempted to cross the ball to an open teammate on the left, but Razorback `keeper Britni Williams got a hand on the pass and an Arkansas defender swooped in to clear the ball.
SFA locked the ball in, though, and caught the Razorbacks out of position. Lee fed the ball ahead on the right side to Louw, who split two defenders to get a one-on-one with Williams. Louw finished with a high shot inside the far post for what proved to be the game-winner.
"Kylie's a special player," Amato said. "Anytime you have someone like that, you know she can break a game wide open. She's a game-winner. You've got to have those to be successful, and that's what she was for us tonight."
The two-goal performance gives Louw a team-leading three scoring strikes on the year, putting her halfway to tying the six goals she scored all of last season. Friday's contest marks the first multi-goal game of Louw's career. She now has two game-winning goals to her credit.
Bauder finished with three saves in 90 minutes of action to improve to 2-1-0 on the season.
"We're so proud of the girls," Amato said. "They worked super-hard all week and especially tonight. They did everything we asked of them."
The Ladyjacks will try to put a pair of wins together Sunday, when they travel to take on Oklahoma. The Sooners (1-1-0) are coming off a 1-0 win at Tulsa on Friday night. Sunday's game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start from John Crain Field in Norman, Okla.
-- SFA --