BATON ROUGE -- The 25th-ranked LSU soccer team has wrapped up its preseason training camp and is ready to kick off the 2009 regular season Friday as it welcomes the two-time defending Conference USA champion Memphis Tigers to the LSU Soccer Complex for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Tigers earned their first ever preseason national ranking on Thursday morning with the release of the Soccer Times Preseason Top 25 featuring a panel of 16 college head coaches from across the country.
Tickets to the game are $5 for adults and $3 for youths. Season tickets for LSU’s eight home matches are also for sale and are $35 for adults and $15 for youths and can be purchased online at LSUsports.net.
For fans who are unable to attend Friday’s match, it is scheduled for a live radio broadcast throughout its entirety and live streaming audio can be accessed online at www.totalsportsradio.com. Jason Kelly enters his third season calling the action for the Tigers as part of Total Sports Radio.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to open up the regular season against a program with the reputation that Memphis has as one the best teams in the country,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “They are used to winning and know what it takes to win championships, so it will be a great test for our team as we open up the 2009 season. It will take a 90-minute effort for our team to come away with a result.”
Memphis has been crowned the champion of Conference USA in each of the last two seasons while it has also earned back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and 2008. The Lady Tigers posted a 15-5-2 overall record and an 8-2-1 mark in Conference USA play a year ago.
Memphis is poised for a third-straight conference title in 2009 as they return eight starters from a year ago which includes the Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year in junior Vendula Strnadova.
LSU returns some firepower of its own as eight starters are back from a team that captured its second-straight SEC Western Division championship with a 14-4-2 overall record and school record 7-3-1 record and 22 points in league play. The Tigers also competed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time.
The Tigers will also feature an experience lineup with eight seniors on the roster, led by the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year in midfielder Malorie Rutledge. Rutledge, a consensus All-American in 2008, is a candidate to win the Hermann Trophy once again after being named to the award watch list put out by the Missouri Athletic Club of St. Louis on Aug. 11.
Not only that, but senior midfielder Melissa Clarke returns after earning Second-Team All-SEC accolades last fall and sophomore goalkeeper Mo Isom leads the defense after earning SEC All-Freshman honors.
LSU was tested by the 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns in a preseason exhibition match on Aug. 14 and won the contest by a 2-1 margin at the LSU Soccer Complex. That victory helped propel the Tigers into the Soccer Times Preseason Top 25 and earn the nod as the favorite to win their third SEC West crown.
“We’re excited about the potential of this team. The girls have had a tremendous preseason camp that was highlighted with a deserved win over Texas last weekend, and I know they are anxious to start the regular season tomorrow night,” Lee said. “This is what they have worked so hard for since the end of last season and we will see where we are very early against a quality side in Memphis.”
Friday is Baton Rouge Soccer Association Night at the LSU Soccer Complex as members of the BRSA will receive free admission to the match. The first 500 fans through the gate will also receive a free 2009 LSU Soccer water bottle compliments of the LSU Marketing and Promotions Department.