Soccer Hosts No. 19 Cincinnati in Battle of Unbeatens
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Soccer team welcomes a nationally-ranked opponent to Baton Rouge for the first time this season on Thursday night as the Tigers square off against the 19th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats at 6 p.m. CT in a battle of unbeatens at the LSU Soccer Stadium. Admission to the match is free.
The match features two of the hottest teams in college soccer early in the season as LSU (6-0) remains one of only seven perfect teams across the country in NCAA Division I and Cincinnati (6-0-1) is among 15 unbeaten sides including draws heading into Week 5 of the campaign.
The Bearcats are the first nationally-ranked team to feature at the LSU Soccer Stadium this season as Cincinnati is ranked as high as No. 19 nationally in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25 released Monday.
This year’s LSU Soccer team trading cards will be distributed at the gate as fans attending the match are invited to take part in a post-match autograph session with the team. Gates open at 5 p.m. CT ahead of kickoff at 6 p.m. as fans can “Geaux Free!” to each of LSU’s remaining six home matches, courtesy of The Advocate.
Fans unable to attend the match can receive live updates by following @LSUSoccer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsusoccer and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsusoccer and also by liking the LSU Soccer page on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lsusoccer. LSU will also provide live stats during the match at http://lsu.statbroadcast.com.
“There’s no better way to get ourselves ready for the start of SEC play than by having one of the top teams in the country here tomorrow night,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Cincinnati is a great team with certainly a lot of experience back from last season. They’ve picked up the results so far that suggest they will be a contender in their league and a threat in the NCAA Tournament as the season goes along.”
Cincinnati arrives in Baton Rouge as winners of its last four outings and unbeaten in seven this season with senior striker Julie Gavorski, senior defender Vanessa Gilles and freshman midfielder Sophie Gorman topping the team’s scoring charts with three goals apiece. Senior midfielder Jayce Brown has chipped in with two match-winning goals during the 2017 season.
The Bearcats came from behind to beat Big Ten Conference foe Purdue by a 2-1 scoreline on their home field in Cincinnati on Sunday. Recent results also include a 1-0 home win over Miami (Fla.) on Aug. 27, a 2-1 away win at Northwestern on Sept. 3 and a 1-0 away win at Northern Kentucky last Thursday.
Cincinnati is certainly poised to contend for the American Athletic Conference title and push for NCAA Tournament qualification this year while returning eight starters and 19 letterwinners from a team that finished up the 2016 season at 11-5-4 overall and 4-3-2 in AAC play. The Bearcats are already off to a program-best start in 2017 with six wins and one draw heading into Thursday’s match.
The Tigers left it late for their sixth-straight win to start the season on Sunday night when freshman Lucy Parker scored her second goal of the season in the 87th minute to hand LSU a 1-0 win over Liberty.
With a win on Thursday night, LSU would equal its best ever start to a season in program history when the Tigers last started a campaign 7-0 in 2008. They have been led by senior striker Zoe Higgins as she has bagged a team-leading and career-high four goals in six starts this year. Junior Alex Thomas and freshman Tinaya Alexander follow with three goals apiece, while Alexander has also dished out six assists for a team best 12 points as LSU’s top scorer on the campaign.
Alexander is riding a streak of six-straight matches with an assist as she is just one game shy of tying Natalie Martineau’s school record of consecutive matches with an assist when the former All-SEC midfielder assisted in seven-straight appearances during the 2011 season. Alexander’s six assists tops the Southeastern Conference and is tied for the No. 2 spot on the NCAA’s assist list for 2017.
After playing host to the Bearcats on Thursday night, the Tigers wrap up their three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon with their SEC opener against Vanderbilt University that is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. CDT on the SEC Network. LSU is set to make its national-television debut against the Commodores on Sunday.