Arkansas soccer turns focus to SEC Tournament

Kayla Mckeon (24) of Arkansas goes up for the header in front of Duke defender Malinda Allen (22) Friday, August 26, 2016 during their game at Razorback field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas finished off a regular season of women's soccer with a school-record 15 regular season wins, a school-record eight Southeastern Conference wins and a program best third-place finish in the SEC standings.

The Razorbacks now turn their attention to the postseason, where they'll first focus on the SEC Tournament, which begins play today in Orange Beach, Ala.

SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament

When: Today-Sunday

Where: Orange Beach, Ala.

Today’s Games:

No. 7 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Ole Miss, 3:30

No. 8 Texas A&M vs. No. 9 Alabama, 6 p.m.

Wednesday’s Games

No. 2 Auburn vs. Tennessee-Ole Miss winner, 12 p.m.

No. 3 Arkansas vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt, 2:30 p.m.

No. 1 South Carolina vs. Texas A&M-Alabama winner, 5 p.m.

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 5 Missouri, 7:30 p.m.

Arkansas (15-4, 8-3 SEC) receives a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed and will face sixth-seeded Vanderbilt at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in a game televised on the SEC Network. The Razorbacks defeated Vandy, 4-0, in their previous regular season matchup Oct. 6 in Fayetteville.

Arkansas, ranked No. 23 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association poll, was a preseason pick to finish 12th in the SEC by league coaches in the preseason poll. But the Razorbacks far exceeded outside expectations, highlighted by wins at home this season against No. 2 Duke and No. 4 Florida.

Five players on the Razorbacks' roster have scored at least six goals, led by senior Lindsey Mayo and freshman Kayla McKeon with eight goals each. Senior Claire Kelly and junior Jessi Hartzler each have seven goals, and freshman Stefani Doyle has scored six goals.

The Razorbacks wrapped up the regular season and the No. 3 seed for the SEC Tournament with a 2-0 win Thursday at LSU. The victory was Arkansas' sixth shutout of the year.

Arkansas has now advanced to the SEC Tournament four times in five seasons under coach Colby Hale.

"The first half was a tremendous performance," Hale said of the LSU victory. "We challenged ourselves in some areas, and I thought we played well in some areas we had been working on. It was a team effort. We had some huge performances in the second half from some players off the bench. We scored two great goals and got the deserved shutout.

"We will enjoy this, close the regular season chapter and get ready for the postseason."

Kelley, who also recorded 13 assists and two game-winning scores this season, was named first-team All-SEC by league coaches Sunday. Hartzler and sophomore defender Qyara Winston were named to the second team, and both Doyle and McKeon were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

The Razorbacks are 1-3 in SEC Tournament games under Hale, with the one win coming in 2013 against Missouri.

If Arkansas advances past Vanderbilt on Wednesday, it will play again at 7 p.m. Friday.

Sports on 10/31/2016