Soccer Away to Alabama on Thursday Night
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Soccer team looks to bounce back straightaway from its first defeat of the 2017 season in its SEC opener with its first away trip in conference play Thursday as it travels to Tuscaloosa to face 24th-ranked Alabama in a match scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+.
The Tigers (7-1, 0-1 SEC) and Crimson Tide (8-2, 0-1) are both in search of their first win in SEC play of the season following a pair of 1-0 defeats last week when Alabama fell at No. 3-ranked South Carolina on Friday and LSU dropped three points to Vanderbilt at home on Sunday.
Thursday’s match marks LSU’s second in three outings against a nationally-ranked opponent as the Crimson Tide are ranked as high as No. 24 in the national polls thanks to their quick start to the season.
Alabama’s most notable result of the season thus far was a 1-0 win over No. 4-ranked Florida State in Tuscaloosa as it enters the match with a 5-1 mark at the Alabama Soccer Complex this fall. LSU also boasts a resume win for the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 shutout of 19th-ranked Cincinnati in Baton Rouge a week ago.
With their win over Cincinnati, the Tigers tied their best ever start to a season with seven-straight wins as they picked up a No. 14 ranking in the NCAA’s first Ratings Percentage Index of the year released Monday. The Crimson Tide also boast a top-40 RPI ranking heading into this weekend’s action as they sit No. 36 in the inaugural index this season.
LSU and Alabama have played perhaps the most competitive series in SEC soccer in recent seasons as each of their last five meetings and six of their last seven have gone to extra time with the Tigers winning once, the Crimson Tide winning twice and the sides playing to a draw three times in those matches. The squads played to a 0-0 draw in Baton Rouge a season ago, while the Tigers are looking for their first win in the series since a 2-1 extra-time win in Tuscaloosa during the 2013 season.
The hosts were 3-2 extra-time winners the last time the sides met in Tuscaloosa in their SEC opener in 2015 when All-SEC midfielder Celia Jimenez Delgado scored the winner in the 102nd minute.
LSU’s fortunes against Alabama certainly turned when Brian Lee was appointed the head coach of the program ahead of the 2005 season. In nine matches between the teams from 1995-2004, the Tigers managed only one win and a 1-7-1 mark against the Crimson Tide. Since Lee’s arrival, LSU is 6-3-3 in the series, which includes a four-straight wins from 2006-09 and an eight-match unbeaten run through 2013.
Alabama is led by a diverse attack this year as seven players have scored at least two goals into the start of SEC play. Junior forward Abbie Boswell and freshman midfielder Taylor Morgan lead the way with three goals, while Jimenez Delgado, Chatham DeProspo, Kayla Mouton, Emma Welch and Casey Wertz have scored two goals apiece to this point of the season.
After returning from Tuscaloosa following Thursday’s match, the Tigers play host to Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon with kickoff set for 3 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+. They then travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face the University of Kentucky on Friday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m. CT.