Arkansas blows by Alabama

Arkansas forward Anna Podojil takes a shot during the Razorbacks' 5-0 win against Alabama on Thursday night.
Arkansas forward Anna Podojil takes a shot during the Razorbacks' 5-0 win against Alabama on Thursday night.

FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s soccer team ran wild during a 5-0 victory over No. 9 Alabama in front of a record crowd of 3,660 on Thursday night at Razorback Field.

The Razorbacks (6-2-1, 2-0 SEC) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes to extend their 27-match home unbeaten streak.

The Crimson Tide (6-1-4, 0-1-1) failed to contain Arkansas All-America forward Anna Podojil as she assisted the first two goals and scored the third.

“My job is to score goals for this team,” Podojil said.

Arkansas Coach Colby Hale credited the Razorback fans for providing an edge.

“This crowd is unbelievable,” Hale said. “They’re loud. They’re obnoxious. I thought they were a huge factor tonight.” In the third minute, Bea Franklin darted forward from her midfield position to tap in the opener on a cross from Podojil. Franklin is the Razorbacks’ second-leading scorer with five goals.

Arkansas doubled its lead in the seventh minute on a goal by freshman midfielder Avery Wren. She smashed a first-time finish from the top of the 18-yard box into the far post for her first collegiate goal.

After setting up the first two scores, Podojil finished the third goal on a low cross from Morgan White. It was her second goal of the season and program-record 48th of her career.

Podojil also recorded her 32nd and 33rd career assists.


The Razorbacks have had 14 goal scorers this season.

“You’ve got to stop Anna, Ava [Tankersley] and Morgan [White],” Hale said, “and after that you still have 11, 12, 13 kids that can score.” Freshman goalkeeper Phoebe Carver made her first start for the Razorbacks. Junior goalkeeper Sierra Cota-Yarde was excused from the match to play for the Portuguese national team today in the UEFA Women’s Nations League against France at Valenciennes, France.

“[Carver] did not look like a freshman,” Hale said. “It’s a big game for it to be her first game. I thought she was fantastic.” Cota-Yarde had played every minute prior to Thursday. Carver made five saves against the Crimson Tide.

The Razorbacks outshot Alabama 14-9 through the first 45 minutes and 23-15 for the game. Arkansas scored on half of its shots on target in the first half.

Both teams suffered injury scares early in the first half as Podojil and 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year Gianna Paul had to be subbed off within minutes of each other.

Podojil was replaced by Bella Field in the 49th minute, but returned after three minutes. Paul limped off the field in the 50th minute and did not return.

White added a pair of second-half goals to ice the game. In the 52nd minute, she moved Alabama’s last defender and tucked the ball past the onrushing keeper for the Razorbacks’ fourth goal.

The transfer from Marshall followed with a spectacular curling effort. She cut in from the far-left side of the 18-yard box and lifted the ball with her right foot inside the far post.

“That last one, I’ve never scored a goal like that before,” White told the SEC Network afterward. “That was exciting. I’m still excited about it.” The five-goal loss was Alabama’s largest margin of defeat since a 6-0 loss at Florida in 2016.

“This is why we play the tough schedule,” Hale said, referencing three games on the road against ranked ACC teams in late August and early September.

The Razorbacks recorded their first shutout since Aug. 24 against Oregon. The five goals were the second-most this season for Arkansas behind the 6-0 victory over Arkansas State in the opener.

Arkansas will look to extend its winning streak to four games when it takes on Texas A&M on Sunday at College Station, Texas.

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