BATON ROUGE - Senior striker Carlie Banks netted her second goal of the season in the 44th minute and junior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman made a career-high 11 saves in the match as the LSU Soccer team played the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (4-2-3, 0-1-1 SEC) picked up their first point in Southeastern Conference play this season while running their unbeaten streak against the Crimson Tide (5-2-1, 0-1-1) to seven-straight matches as they boast a 5-0-2 mark against their SEC West rival since the 2006 season.
The Tigers broke the ice with just under two minutes to play in the first half when Banks scored the breakthrough on a full volley from the top of the penalty area.
After sophomore defender Jodi Calloway played the ball wide to freshman right back Jade Kovacevic on the right side, Kovacevic took one touch and served a ball over the Alabama back line and to Banks running free near the top of the area. As the ball hit the turf, Banks saw Crimson Tide goalkeeper Shelby Church racing off her line and played a one-touch volley over Church and into the back of the net for her second goal of the season at the 43:03 mark of the first half.
LSU's lead was short-lived as sophomore striker Pia Rijsdijk scored the equalizer for Alabama less than six minutes into the second half.
With Crimson Tide turning up their pressure on the Tiger defense following the kickoff, they were rewarded in the 51st minute when sophomore midfielder Theresa Diederich found Rijsdijk free inside of the area on a through ball past LSU's back line. Rijsdijk buried an eight-yard strike inside the left post at the 50:57 mark to draw Alabama level in the match.
The Tigers missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 74th minute when junior left back Nina Anderson ripped a left-footed strike off the crossbar from 40 yards and a shot from eight yards on the rebound by sophomore midfielder Alex Arlitt was denied by Church diving toward the left post.
The match would end in a 1-1 draw as each team earned their first point on the table on the opening weekend of SEC play.
"I thought we played really well on Friday night, and maybe that took a lot of energy out of us for today. I thought today was one of our lesser performances of the year," said LSU head coach Brian Lee. "We were OK in the first half, but really soft in the second half and paid for it with the equalizer. We simply need to get better than what we showed today."
A native of Missouri City, Texas, Kinneman is an emerging star in goal for the Tigers as she set a career-high for saves in a match for the second time this week.
After making 10 saves in LSU's 2-1 victory over the Memphis Tigers in their non-conference finale on Monday night, Kinneman stopped 11 of 12 shots on goal by the Crimson Tide on Sunday afternoon as the Tigers ran their unbeaten streak to seven-straight matches in the series with their division rival.
Perhaps none were more impressive than the 75th minute when Kinneman challenged junior midfielder Mollie Atherton on a breakaway as she raced off her line and denied Atherton the opportunity for a potential game-winning goal with a diving save to her left from just inside the penalty spot.
The Tigers have yet to drop an overtime match in 2012 as they are now 1-0-3 in four matches played in extra time this season.
"Draws are generally a good sign because it means you have fighters. It's a bad sign when you win and lose every game," Lee said. "The overtime just comes down to how hard you're willing to fight until the end. If both teams are willing to fight, there is going to be a chance each way, and that's what we had today."
The Tigers are set to wrap up their 10-game homestand next weekend as they welcome Auburn and Kentucky to Baton Rouge for crucial weekend in the race for the SEC Championship. LSU will play host to the Tigers on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT and the Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the LSU Soccer Stadium.