FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With the help of a brace from junior Tori Cannata and a first career goal from freshman Bryana Hunter, the Razorback soccer team withstood an aggressive match from start to finish to knock off the second-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, 3-2, Thursday night at Razorback Field.
It’s the first win for Arkansas over Texas A&M since 1993 and snaps the Aggies 25-match overall win streak that dated back to Sept. 17, 2017.
Both of Cannata’s goals were of the go-ahead variety as she gave Arkansas the early lead in the 14th minute before Texas A&M was able to equalize in the 16th minute off a set piece. The brace was Cannata’s first of her career and her first four-point match in her three years as a Razorback.
Bryana Hunter, who had not appeared in a match yet this year due to an injury, was logging her first career minutes off the bench and came through with a clutch goal in the 75th minute, one of two shots she had in just 23 minutes of action. Hunter is the ninth different Razorback with at least one goal this year.
The Razorbacks remain undefeated at home at 5-0-1 and tonight’s win was their second over a top-10 team this year and first over a team ranked in the top-two since beating No. 2 Duke, 2-1, on Aug. 26, 2016. Since 2016, Arkansas has defeated or tied five top-10 teams, which is the most of any team in the SEC.
Head coach Colby Hale
“It’s a big win, I told the team at halftime ‘that’s the number-two team in the polls’ we thought that we were every bit as good as them. It’s an upset on the books based on rankings. We thought it was toe to toe, shots were 14 to 12. We thought it was a deserving win. We still have to sort out a few things, but it was good.” – on the win over Texas A&M
B-E-A-utiful night at Razorback Field. ☀️ ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/p67Iz4d5Hc— Razorback Soccer (@RazorbackSoccer) September 21, 2018
“They were really good. Both goals were on set pieces and direct free kicks. In the run of play we were incredibly good defending in every aspect. We’ll clean up a few things and we’ll be good.” – on the defensive play
“I actually said that she was going to score the game-winner at halftime. I said guys, ‘Bryana Hunter is playing up front and she’s going to score the game-winner.” – on Bryana Hunter scoring the game-winner for her first career goal
Tori Cannata – Jr. Forward
“After losing to Texas A&M last year in the SEC Tournament final, we really wanted this win and we got it. I didn’t do all the work tonight. My teammates just passed me the ball and put me in good spots. You just have to keep making runs and you’ll get rewarded.” – on the win over Texas A&M and her two-goal performance
“I thought we were totally engaged the entire game. We were focused and there wasn’t one moment where someone wasn’t paying attention to what was going on. I think that definitely played a role in our win tonight.” – on the focus showed by the entire team throughout the match
Reece Christopherson – Sr. Defender
“Coach (Colby Hale) always talks to us about fearless and tonight we were definitely fearless. Every one of us. Every single substitution. Everyone contributed tonight and was loud. Our fans were incredible. It was a whole Arkansas win.” – on what was the contributing factor to the victory
“That was so awesome. Coach said it at halftime, he said, ‘Bryana, you are going to have the game-winning goal,’ and she did!” – on freshman Bryana Hunter scoring her first goal of her career
How It Went Down
14th minute – It didn’t take long for Arkansas to light up the scoreboard early in the match as Cannata received a great pass from junior Stefani Doyle on the right side of the field, where she one-timed it past the keeper to make it 1-0 Arkansas. Doyle earned two assists on the night, giving her three assists and seven points for the year.
16th minute – Texas A&M quickly answered with of a goal of their own. Kendall Ritchie was able to squeeze the ball past Rachel Harris’ hands in the top shelf off a free kick from 25 yards out.
58th minute – After halftime the Razorbacks earned the lead right back. This time, Cannata found herself, again, in the right place, right-footing a ball past Cosette Morche from roughly 10 yards out off a flip throw from the right side of the field. It was the final lead change of the night.
62' IT'S CANNATA AGAIN!— Razorback Soccer (@RazorbackSoccer) September 21, 2018
Loose ball in the box after the flip throw in from Louk and Tori Cannata puts it home to put the Hogs up 2-1! pic.twitter.com/cwFKFPwQFB
74th minute – Arkansas doubled its lead 16 minutes later as Doyle was the playmaker again. Racing down the right side of the field on a counterattack, the junior saw an opportunity for a cross off the end line and Hunter stayed onside with a great timed run to chip the ball over Morche’s head. Hunter’s goal made it 3-1 Arkansas, eclipsing the entire total of goals allowed by Texas A&M this season (2).
84th minute – Texas A&M pulled within a single goal with six minutes to play. Asdis Halldorsdottir scored from 35 yards out, hitting a line drive to the left side of the net to give the Aggies their second goal of the night off a free kick.
The Razorbacks go back on the road for their next match as they travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide on Sunday. First kick is at 6 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network+.