Soccer's Streak Snapped in SEC Opener
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Soccer team saw its seven-game winning streak to open the season snapped Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 setback to visiting Vanderbilt in their Southeastern Conference opener at the LSU Soccer Stadium as Commodore freshman Madiya Harriott broke the deadlock in the 86th minute.
The Tigers (7-1, 0-1 SEC) equaled their best ever start to a season with seven wins from their first seven matches before Sunday’s SEC opener as they fell to Vanderbilt (6-3, 1-0) for the second year running.
The hosts nearly went in front just three minutes from the opening kickoff when senior Zoe Higgins ran onto an errant back pass by the Commodore back line and forced a diving save from goalkeeper Kaitlyn Fahrner with an early strike just beyond the penalty spot. The Tigers twice hit the target in the first half before leading with three shots on goal at the full-time whistle.
Higgins led the team along with freshman Tinaya Alexander with two shots and one shot on goal apiece in the match. Alexander's streak of consecutive matches with an assist was also snapped at seven in the defeat.
“We didn’t finish one of those early chances that could have helped settle us down a little bit,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Vanderbilt gradually came into the game. They fought really hard today and are very good in the air. It became just a typical SEC game where you have to grind it out without many chances falling either way.”
The Commodores earned the points with their only shot on goal of the match following a long throw-in from the left side by freshman Olivia Simmons. Harriott hooked a loose ball from eight yards in the left side of the area inside the far post for her first career goal with just 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.
Despite finishing with just one shot on goal, Vanderbilt led the way with nine total attempts and 10 corner kicks in the match while the Tigers managed seven shots and seven corner kicks during the 90 minutes.
“We’d done so well dealing with their long throw, then late in the game we give one away that ended up being a loose ball where anything can happen,” Lee explained. “Really, the long throw is better than a corner in most cases. We certainly would have rather given up the corner than the long throw when (Olivia Simmons) is in. They’re a good wing attacking team, and the ball bounced their way in the end.”
LSU looks to bounce back straightaway on Thursday night with a trip to Tuscaloosa where it faces 19th-ranked Alabama in a match scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+. The Tigers return home a week from now on Sunday, Sept. 24, when they welcome Mississippi State to Baton Rouge for a 3 p.m. CT kickoff also on the SEC Network+.