ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – The eighth-seeded University of Arkansas soccer team made a statement in the first round of play at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament Monday night with a 4-0 win over ninth-seeded Missouri. The dominant victory sends Arkansas to the SEC quarterfinals for the first time since 1996.
The Razorbacks got on the board early as sophomore Ashleigh Ellenwood fired one into the upper 90 that hit off the crossbar and went into the net in just the sixth minute of play for a 1-0 lead.
Arkansas struck again in the 33rd minute, as Katie Moore won the ball from Missouri defender Sarah Thune while goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein was off her line. Alexandra Fischer chipped the ball over Sauerwein's head and the Razorbacks gained a 2-0 lead over the Tigers.
The Razorbacks extended their lead to 3-0 in the 60th minute with a goal by Claire Kelley and Arkansas was well on its way to its first SEC Tournament win since 1996. The Arkansas offense kept pressing, and Ellenwood would pick up her second goal of the game, 13th on the season, in the 69th minute to give the Razorbacks a 4-0 lead. Arkansas is now 10-1 this season when Ellenwood scores.
Razorback goalkeeper Cameron Carter made a career-high 12 saves on the night, holding off Missouri in Arkansas' sixth shutout of the season.
"We did it as we've done it all year," said Head Coach Colby Hale. "I thought Cameron (Carter) made a couple of big time saves, we scored four goals and our backs were fantastic. The first ten minutes of the second half we were under a barrage and I think they just weathered that storm - sliding, fighting, heading, which is what we do well. Ultimately, it was a complete team effort."
The Razorbacks will face top-seeded and regular season champ Florida in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 5 p.m. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.
"We need to watch some video on Florida," said Hale. "We didn't play them this year but I know the girls are ready for the challenge."