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Dallas Soccer News - SMU women lose season opener at Arkansas, smu soccer, Rikki Clarke

SMU women lose season opener at Arkansas

Published 8/21/2011 10:17:09 AM by staff from dallas
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The SMU women's soccer team got off to an unfortunate start to 2011 season tonight as they fell 2-1 to Arkansas at Razorback Field.   It was a tall task to ask starting the season against a solid SEC side like Arkansas.

After a solid early start SMU crumbled as Arkansas scored twice in a five minute span.  As momentum appeared to be in the Mustangs' favor, Arkansas' Beth Stratton took chip shot from 35 yards out that dropped just under the crossbar and out of SMU goalkeeper Courtney Webb's reach to give the Razorback's a 1-0 lead 18 minutes into the game.

Still stunned, Kelly Anders put Arkansas up 2-0 with the team's second shot of game in the 23rd minute after she tapped in a cross from Jeri Ann Okoro who broke off on a Razorback counter attack down the right flank.

Late in the half, SMU regained its confidence as a late flurry of shots and corners occurred, ending with sophomore Amanda Burgardt getting a breakaway with under a minute left in the half. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, the shot was just off mark, missing high.

Down two goals to start the second half, the Mustangs still looked the aggressor. In the 66th minute SMU appeared to regain the momentum as senior Mallory Baum ripped a shot off the crossbar that dropped to freshman Rikki Clarke who punched in the rebound for her first goal in her first game as a Mustang.  Less than a minute later, sophomore Jessica Bartol hit a shot that was wide right as SMU continued to put pressure on the Arkansas backline. Wave after wave came, but the Mustangs were unable to find the equalizer.

"I think the thing that we realized is that controlling a game for 85 minutes isn't good enough," said SMU Head Coach Brent Erwin. "You have to control the game for 90 minutes. I'd say for 85 minutes, that was some of the best soccer I've seen SMU play since I've been here. We kept possession, we created chances, it just wasn't our night in front of goal. We also made some uncharacteristic mistakes that cost us."

SMU finished the second half outshooting the Razorbacks 12-5, and recorded a nine shot advantage for the game.

"I told the team that 90% of what we did tonight was fantastic," Erwin said. "Ninety percent of what we did tonight will win us a lot of games. We have a long season ahead of us. We learned a lot, but unfortunately we learned it at the expense of a result tonight."

SMU looks to regroup Monday as the team hosts Stephen F. Austin. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Westcott Field in Dallas.

Label: SMU women lose season opener at Arkansas, smu soccer, Rikki Clarke
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