Arkansas rolls past Auburn and into SEC finals


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Arkansas Athletics

Photo: Arkansas Athletics

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Top-seeded Arkansas (16-3-0) continued its SEC Tournament journey with a win over fifth-seeded Auburn (12-6-1), 5-1, in the semifinals. With the victory, the Razorbacks advance to their sixth-straight conference tournament championship game.

Senior midfielder Kayla McKeon recorded her second brace of the 2021 campaign.

How it Happened

The Hogs had plenty of chances in the first half, outshooting Auburn 12-3, with five shots on target.

Arkansas finally connected in the 41st minute for McKeon’s first goal. Junior Bea Franklin found the ball outside the top of the penalty box, sending a short pass to midfielder Ava Benedetti with Benedetti passing it back to McKeon, where she fired from outside the box. Auburn goalkeeper Maddie Prohaska got a hand on it but it wasn’t enough to deflect the ball.

Two minutes into the second half, McKeon struck again, this time off a free kick after a foul was committed by a Tiger player on the near side of the field. She struck the ball towards the far post, past the hands of Prohaska for her seventh goal of the season.

Auburn got one back a minute later from midfielder Sydnie Thibodaux.

The Hogs’ third goal came from senior Taylor Malham. Malham met up with a deflected shot from McKeon inside the box, sending it in off of her right foot for her eighth goal of the year.

Junior Bea Franklin was next for Arkansas, scoring her first goal as a Razorback in the 81st minute of the match. Freshman Van Fitch took a free kick just outside the near corner of the 18-yard box, where Franklin found it with her head to give the Hogs a 4-1 lead.

Midfielder Ava Benedetti rounded out the scoring in the 83rd minute after another assist from Fitch. After a pass from Franklin near midfield, Fitch took the ball down the near side and found Benedetti outside the top of the six-yard box for a strike off her left foot.

Arkansas finished the match outshooting the Tigers 18-8.

The Hogs have now outscored this season’s opponents 58-16.

Hear It From Coach Hale

“I thought we had some players step up today. We don’t play with one day of rest very often, so we knew we’d need to have some players take on bigger roles. We will take tomorrow and rest up and get ready for the final. This team is ready.”

Next Time Out

The Razorbacks will face the winner of Tennessee-Ole Miss in the championship match, set for Sunday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.



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