Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Information
By: Robert Quiroga
Baton Rouge, La. – The LSU Soccer team (11-6-0, 4-6-0 SEC) picked up the highest ranked-win in program history as they defeated the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks (14-3-0, 9-1-0 SEC) by a score of 4-2 on Thursday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium. The Razorbacks scored their goals in the 2nd and 68th minutes while the Tigers scored in the 19th, 44th, 48th, and 90th minutes. With the win, LSU secures a berth as the No. 9 seed in the 2021 SEC Tournament.
“It was a spirited match from our team,” head coach Sian Hudson said. “It was a great effort from us to come-from-behind after the first goal and I can’t tell you enough of how proud I am of the players. They played a fantastic game tonight, and this is a huge confidence boost heading into the SEC Tournament for us.”
The Razorbacks opened the match with a goal in the 2nd minute as Kiley Dulaney found Parker Goins with a cross into the box, who hit a first-time effort from 12 yards out that went into the back of the net.
LSU was unphased by the goal and pushed on with their efforts. Forward Tinaya Alexander surged into the final third in the 18th minute and drew a free kick on the edge of the box on the right flank. Alexander crossed the free kick into the box and found the head of defender Shannon Cooke, who powered the ball into the back of the net to draw the match level at 1-1. The goal was Cooke’s second of the season, and Alexander’s fifth assist of the year.
The Tigers held control of the match as they searched for a go-head goal. Defender Maya Gordon sent in a powerful effort from 40 yards out in the 40th minute that only narrowly missed the frame of the goal. Midfielder Athena Kuehn tested Arkansas goalkeeper Hannah Warner a minute later with a shot on frame that required a save.
The go-ahead goal came just before halftime in the 44th minute. Kuehn played a through ball into the box that was chased down by forward Molly Thompson, who played a pass to midfielder Rammie Noel at the top of the box. Noel cut inside on her left foot and unleashed a knuckling shot that landed in the top-left corner to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead going into halftime. The goal was Noel’s third of the season, taking her to a career-high nine points on the season. With the assist, Kuehn moved to three assists on the year while Thompson picked up her first of the season.
The lead was extended to 3-1 just three minutes into the second half. Forward Riley Dixon launched a high press and caused an error from a Razorback defender that saw Alexander take possession of the ball at the top of the box, cut inside to beat her defender, and sent a left-footed shot to the bottom left-corner of the goal. Alexander’s team-high goal tally increased to eight on the season with the goal.
The Tigers spent a feisty second half in a physical battle with the Razorbacks. The two teams went back and forth in a battle that saw possession continue to change in the midfield and both sides sending in strong challenges on the ball. Arkansas pulled one back in the 68th minute as Anna Podojil pounced on an error in the LSU defense to beat goalkeeper Mollee Swift and make it 3-2 on the night.
The final 20 minutes saw LSU put on a gritty defensive display to keep the Razorbacks at bay. In the 71st minute, Arkansas’ Bryana Hunter sent a shot on goal that was goal bound until Cooke cleared the ball in front of the line. The Tigers were only safe for a matter of seconds before Goins found space and was in a one-on-one with Swift, who denied her effort from point-blank with an outstretched leg to keep the Tigers in front. Swift picked up two more saves in the 86th and 88th minute to take her total on the night to five.
Alexander capped the night off by putting the game to bed in the 90th minute. The Tigers won the ball at the edge of their own box and sent a through ball to Alexander, who shrugged off her defender and rounded the goalkeeper to place the ball into the back of the net and make it 4-2 on the night. The goal was Alexander’s second of the night, and ninth of the year. With the five points scored in the match, Alexander’s career point total now sits at 63, good enough to place her tenth on the LSU All-Time Point List.
The win over No. 4 Arkansas is the fourth win over a top 10 opponent in program history. With LSU’s win, Arkansas’ 14 match winning streak came to an end, and the Razorbacks were denied a perfect regular season in SEC play. The four goals that Arkansas conceded in one match was the most since the 2017 season.
No. 9-seeded LSU will open the 2021 SEC Tournament against the No. 8-seed Georgia Bulldogs at 3:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, October 31.