Soccer Falls Late to No. 11 Texas A&M
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers played scoreless with 11th-ranked Texas A&M for 87 minutes of Thursday’s Southeastern Conference clash in Baton Rouge before All-American candidate Ally Watt broke through with a late winner to give the visiting Aggies the points by a 1-0 margin at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (8-6-2, 1-5-2 SEC) remained two points outside of SEC Tournament qualification with the result, while Texas A&M (12-2-1, 7-1) picked up its eighth-straight win and seventh-straight in SEC play.
Watt decided the outcome with her seventh goal of the season just three minutes from time when she pounced on a loose ball near the top of the six-yard box following an entry pass by teammate Jimena Lopez with the clock ticking toward extra time. She chipped home the winner for the Aggies while leaving the Tigers just 3 minutes, 22 seconds to find an answer in the closing minutes.
“That was maybe one of the best games we’ve played all year,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee following the match. “The mental concentration and fight was there, and we stayed within the game plan, which was very good to see. We just have to bottle that kind of effort we showed tonight and bring it with us to Auburn on Sunday.”
In a match lacking in clear-cut scoring opportunities for either side, All-SEC and All-American midfielder Mikaela Harvey fashioned perhaps the only chance of the opening frame when she struck the left post from close range in the 40th minute that nearly gave the Aggies the lead at the break. Grace Piper went close again for the visitors on the opposite side of halftime when her rebound from 10 yards was cleared off the line by Tiger freshman Lindsey Eaton covering the near post from a Texas A&M corner kick.
Freshman Lucy Parker had the first clean look for the Tigers with a curling strike from the top of the box that sailed just wide of the post in the 29th minute. Fellow freshman Tinaya Alexander created an opening herself in the final 10 minutes as she nearly provided LSU the breakthrough when she skipped across the top of the box and whistled a shot inches wide of the right post and out for a goal kick.
Lee praised the effort of the Tigers’ back line for their ability to stay organized throughout the match as Eaton joined seniors Jordane Carvery and Debbie Hahn and freshman Chiara Ritchie-Williams in keeping LSU well into the contest against a high-flying Aggie side on its way to a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“We were just staying organized and communicating on a higher level than we have in recent games,” Lee continued. “It was an outstanding game from the whole back four. Debbie Hahn coming back to the team was outstanding stepping right in, staying in-line and helping out with the communication as well. I really thought those four were outstanding tonight.
“A loose ball in the box like that, once it gets knocked down, Ally Watt is as athletic of a soccer player in the country. It was an unlucky break the way it happened, but we just have to get back out and get after them on Sunday afternoon.”
Six seniors also took the field at the LSU Soccer Stadium for the final time as Hahn and Carvery were recognized alongside goalkeeper Lily Alfeld, forward Zoe Higgins and midfielders Nicole Howard and Chelsea Stiebing as part of the team’s annual Senior Tribute ceremony before kickoff for their contributions to the LSU program.
The Tigers are back in action Sunday with a trip to Auburn where they will look for three points against their Tiger counterparts in a match scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU. LSU closes out its regular season in Columbia, Missouri, next week when it faces the Missouri Tigers on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+.