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Soccer Completes Spring Season with 1-1 Tie
        COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team completed its spring season over the weekend by playing a tough University of Missouri squad to a 1-1 tie in Columbia, Mo.
        Falling behind 1-0 in the 24th minute, Arkansas came right back with a goal from departing senior Julie Williford just two minutes later. A Lady Razorback counter attack led to a long through ball that Williford was able to chip over a defender. She then hit a towering shot that sailed over the goalkeeper and into the goal to net the equalizer.
        "I thought that this was a well deserved 1-1 tie," Arkansas head soccer coach Gordon Henderson said. "They had more possession, but I thought that the quality scoring chances were about even. At this point I am more concerned about the style of play and not with the numbers."
        Playing an experienced Missouri team to end the spring season was just what Henderson wanted to do. The Tigers were 12-11-1 overall, but made a fabulous late season run when they advanced to the Big XII Tournament Championship game and to the second round of the NCAA Championships.
        "Missouri is a good side with lots of scoring potential," Henderson said. "Athletically and technically they had more speed, and we had some breakdowns, but you expect that against the good teams."
        Arkansas' ability to adapt to Henderson's style of play served them well against Missouri as it allowed the longer shots to pepper the goal, but kept Missouri from mounting much offense inside the 18-yard box. Missouri did earn a couple of excellent scoring chances early in the contest, but Arkansas goalkeeper Carrie Dillsaver made a couple diving saves to keep the Tigers in their den.
        "There was a huge difference between the Oklahoma State game a couple weeks ago and this one," Henderson said. "The loss to OSU was very frustrating to the players. They played an immature game that day and I think that they got too excited and forgot what they had learned. We had our best two weeks of training since then and I can say that our players are fitter, faster and stronger than when I arrived. They understand the principles of the system and now we need to work on the little nuances."
        The hard work has paid off for nearly every Lady Razorback soccer player and some took to the system quicker than others. That was certainly the case in the midfield where the likes of sophomore Megan McCool and freshman Christina Burger excelled the entire spring.
        "Assistant coach Steve Oliver told me that Megan and Christina could be one of the best center midfield combinations in the Southeastern Conference," Henderson recalled. "Our focus the entire spring has been on the team and developing a sense of unity. I believe that the team has responded incredibly well and that there is a different feeling among the players."
        The Lady Razorbacks get the rest of the spring to focus on academics as they prepare for finals. The next time Arkansas returns to the pitch as a team is early August when they start two-a-days in preparation for the 2004 season.

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