FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jessica Rightmer's goal from a step inside the six
in the 87th minute proved to be the difference on Friday night as the
Auburn soccer team escaped Razorback Field with a 3-2 win over Arkansas.
The win improved Auburn's record to 8-3-0, 2-1-0 SEC while Arkansas
dropped to 3-6-2, 0-2-1 SEC.
Rightmer, who had two goals on the season entering the match, nailed
home the first game-winning goal of her career following a Katy Frierson
free kick. With the ball bouncing around inside the six, Julie King was
able to get a foot on the ball before Rightmer beat Arkansas goalkeeper
Britini Williams to the far post.
"I made a near post run like the coaches talk about at all of our
practices and again at halftime," Rightmer said. "It was kind of
bouncing around in there and I was able to shielded off a defender and
shoot it in."
Auburn, which had yet to win on the road on Friday night this season,
had to battle back from a 1-0 deficit and then surrendered game-tying
goal with a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute, causing the need for Rightmer's
Arkansas went up 1-0 in the 21st minute when Kelsey Allison ripped a
shot through the 18 and past Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard for her second
goal of the season.
Frierson, the SEC's leader in points entering the match, had two good
looks on frame five minutes after Allison's goal but her toe-touch on a
an Ana Cate cross into the six and her shot from a step inside the
corner of the 18 both landed in the mitts of Williams to keep Auburn
down a goal.
Frierson finally was able to break through in the 31st minute when she
worked her way around a pair of defenders at the top of the 18 and
squeezed a shot between the hands of Williams and the crossbar, hitting
the underside of the bar and shooting down into the net for her sixth
goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
"Ana did a great job with the ball in the corner," Frierson said of
Cate, who played the ball to Frierson at the top of the box. "She had a
great touch back to me. I felt the defenders coming at me so I tried to
cut it behind them and just put it on frame."
Arkansas nearly took the lead back three minutes before halftime but
Allie Chandler's shot from outside the 18 and through a line of three
Auburn defenders hit the post and rolled over the end line. A minute
later Auburn was on the doorstep following a corner but Monica
Afanador's touch was stopped by an Arkansas defender on the line,
which would become a theme for Arkansas in the second half.
After Frierson hit the crossbar four minutes into the second half,
Auburn took a 2-1 lead in the 56th minute as it pounded the Arkansas
goal line for four straight shots following a Frierson corner kick.
Serving it in from the near corner, Julie King headed a shot on frame
that Williams was able to stop. The rebound went right to Mary
Nicholson, who took two shots, both of which were blocked by Arkansas
defenders, with the last rebound squirting to an uncovered Ashley Marks,
who was on the line and buried her fourth goal of the season.
"The biggest thing about getting a win on Friday is it gives us
confidence going into Sunday," Marks said. "We know that we can complete
the weekend and that's one of the most important things with the goals
that we have set for ourselves to be SEC champs."
Arkansas tied it at 2-2 in the 66th minute as Allison scored her second
goal of the night, pasting a shot from 20 yards out that flew past
Howard for Allison's third goal of the season, setting the stage for
Auburn finished the match with 20 shots with 16 of them on going frame,
forcing Williams into 10 saves and the Arkansas defense into three.
Arkansas had nine, with Howard making three saves.
Auburn remains on the road for its next match, travelling to Baton
Rouge, La., for a 1pm meeting at LSU on Sunday. The match will air live
on COX-TV in Louisiana and on thAuburn/Opelika area and online at www.auburntigers.com.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn University Athletics