Parker Extends Soccer's Streak with Late Winner
BATON ROUGE – Sunday’s match with the Liberty Flames was destined for extra time until freshman Lucy Parker found the breakthrough just four minutes from time as she clipped the underside of the bar with her driven effort from 35 yards to hand the Tigers their sixth-straight win with a dramatic 1-0 victory.
Parker’s second goal of the season couldn’t come at a better time as the Tigers (6-0) saw out the final 3 minutes, 23 seconds to capture their sixth-straight victory this fall and first against Liberty (2-4-2) in their inaugural meeting with the reigning Big South Conference Champions.
The victory leaves LSU just one win short of its school-record start to a season when the Tigers opened 2008 a perfect 7-0. They have now outscored their opponents 16-1 with five clean sheets in six matches.
“The worry about the starting as slow as we did is about not having a game in a week when we lost the UCF game,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “It really got us out of rhythm, and it is so hard to replicate match-type intensity during practice. We were half expecting to come out a little flat, but we were hopeful that we wouldn’t.
“I thought we got stronger and stronger as the match progressed. We have some high-character kids, so we like our chances in tight games. We think these kids deserve to win, and they’ll do the right things leading up to the game and then in the game they will work their way through it.”
Fellow freshman Tinaya Alexander squared to Parker alone in midfield as she caught Liberty goalkeeper Melody Layroe off her line with an ambitious effort that kissed the underside of the crossbar and deflected over the line for the winner in the 87th minute. It was Parker’s first goal since LSU’s 5-0 win over Mississippi Valley State on opening night back on Aug. 18.
Incidentally, Alexander extended her streak of consecutive matches with an assist to six as she has now turned provider in each of LSU’s six wins this season. She remains LSU’s top scorer with 12 points on the year.
“I did not think that would go in,” Parker shared after the match. “I just thought I had to get it on target. I know Zoe (Higgins) is always following it in. She’s always great in the six-yard box. I saw the clock a bit before so I knew we were running out of time and that we needed something. I just took the shot. They don’t go in often, but when they do it’s nice.”
What few chances there were in the match fell the way of the Tigers. Parker nearly opened the scoring on 31 minutes with a back-post header from Higgins’ end-line cross, but Jayroe was positioned well for a reaction save. Junior Alex Thomas later forced a diving save from Jayroe with her curling strike at the top of the box in the 62nd minute.
Goalkeeper Caroline Brockmeier made two saves on the night for her fifth clean sheet of the season as LSU’s defensive unit of seniors Jordane Carvery and Debbie Hahn, sophomore Ellie Weber and freshmen Lindsey Eaton and Chiara Ritchie-Williams have held opponents to just 28 shots on target in six matches this season.
The Tigers are now riding a streak of 152 minutes without conceding to their opponent after seeing their streak of 448 minutes snapped in the 28th minute of their 3-1 win over Austin Peay last Sunday.
“It’s massive. We have played six games and only conceded one (goal),” Parker said of LSU’s defensive effort to this point of the season. “Our back four have been solid every game, especially Jordane (Carvery) today. I thought that whenever we were dipping she was always there picking up the tempo telling us to keep our heads up. It’s big-time having that in the back.”
LSU is back in action Thursday night as it welcomes No. 22-ranked Cincinnati to Baton Rouge in a battle of unbeatens that is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Stadium. The Tigers wrap up a three-game homestand next Sunday, Sept. 17, with their SEC opener against Vanderbilt at 4 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.