AUBURN, Ala. – No. 19 Auburn suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 4 Arkansas Thursday night at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
The loss snapped a three-game winning and shutout streak for the Tigers (11-4-0, 5-3-0 SEC) and marked just the team’s second home loss of the season, both coming against top-four opponents.
“Arkansas is a great team, and they are really difficult to play,’ head coach Karen Hoppa said. “The biggest difference was they outplayed us in the second half. I thought the first half was good. We created better opportunities. Obviously, they got the one goal on the scrum in the box, and we didn’t get any. The second half we just got outplayed.”
Three Auburn seniors in Alyssa Malonson, Rocio Sanders and Olivia Dedels were honored for their contributions to the program during a Senior Night ceremony prior to the game.
“It’s an incredible group,” Hoppa said of her seniors. “It’s kind of an odd senior class because we have seven seniors on the roster, but only three of them are leaving us after this season. They’re a really special group.”
Malonson made her 92nd straight start in an Auburn uniform in the contest and set a new program record in games started and consecutive games started while tying the games played record.
“Alyssa Malonson, what can you say about her?” Hoppa asked. “She has now started more games than any other player in Auburn soccer history. She’s a very special player, and we are grateful we still have her.”
Auburn created its chances in the early going with its best looks coming on a deflected shot from Anna Haddock after receiving a pretty through ball from Marissa Arias and a shot on goal from just outside the six-yard box from Olivia Candelino.
However, it was Arkansas (13-2-0, 8-0-0 SEC) that was first to get on the scoreboard as a free kick turned into a scrum inside the six-yard box, which ultimately resulted in a goal in the 35th minute.
Trailing at halftime at home for the first time since Sept. 12 vs. No. 1 Florida State, Auburn came out fighting for the equalizer and had a pair of chances in the middle portion of the second half. Sydney Richards received a heel flick from Arias and got a look at goal in the 54th minute, and Carly Thatcher played a through ball to Arias making a run down the middle of the field, but it was a touch too much.
Sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Prohaska made a sliding save on a one-on-one situation in the 68th minute to keep the deficit at one, but Arkansas was eventually able to double its advantage less than two minutes later.
Prohaska made another diving save on a header off a corner, one of her four saves in the match, but it was too little too late for the Tigers.
“We’re just trying to refocus on what we can control, and we control the next two games,” Hoppa added. “All of our focus is on Sunday and trying to find a way to get a result.”
Auburn hits the road for its final two regular season games, starting with another top-20 matchup at No. 13 Ole Miss (11-3-2, 6-2-0 SEC) Sunday at 2 p.m. in Oxford, Mississippi.