BATON ROUGE – Led by a brace each from junior Alex Arlitt and sophomore Fernanda Pina, four different Tigers found the back of the net on the evening as the LSU Tigers ran away from the visiting ULM Warhawks and claimed a 6-0 victory in a rare midweek match in front of 1,212 fans on Tuesday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (2-0) ran their home winning streak to four-straight games since last season, while remaining unbeaten with a 4-0-1 mark all-time against the Warhawks (1-2) on the soccer pitch.
The Tigers found the breakthrough in the ninth minute of play when Arlitt dribbled down the left flank and served up an end-line cross to Pina, who one-timed an eight-yard strike into the back of the net from directly in front of the net for her first goal of the 2013 campaign. That only opened the floodgates as the Tigers found the net four times in a 12-minute span to quickly put the game out of reach.
“I remember Artie (Alex Arlitt) pounding the ball on the left side, and she always crosses it. I just made the run and the ball came right between my feet,” Pina said of Arlitt’s build up to the goal. “As a team our focus is on each game at a time. It’s important to win each game, so if we focus on each one, more wins will come.”
Junior Jodi Calloway followed less than five minutes later as she opened her account with her first goal of the season in the 13th minute of play. Freshman Summer Clarke dribbled to the top of the box and laid the ball off to Calloway, who finessed a one-time shot from 10 yards past ULM goalkeeper Holly Mallinson and into the bottom left corner of the goal to give LSU a 2-0 lead.
At the 16:12 mark, Arlitt contributed her first of two goals on the night. Following a rocket shot off the crossbar by Calloway, senior defender Addie Eggleston pounced on the loose ball and centered to Arlitt standing in the six-yard box for and easy finish for her first goal of her junior season.
Arlitt then bagged a brace less than four minutes later when she again cleaned up a centering pass into the box by Eggleston with a 12-yard strike into the back of the net in the 21st minute of the first half.
A native of Houston, Texas, Arlitt was rewarded for her work rate down the left flank throughout the match as she finished as the team’s leading scorer on the night with two goals on her two shots and one assist.
“At left back, you don’t really expect or anticipate getting forward that much, but tonight I was really able to get forward and get on the end of some crosses,” Arlitt said. “When I get the ball, the first thing I try to do is look up and see if it’s on. I realized that I could beat the player, so I took advantage of that as the game went on more and more.”
After coming onto the pitch with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, sophomore striker Lexi Gibbs found the scoresheet with her first career goal in the 37th minute when she headed home an end-line cross of fellow sophomore Heather Magee to give the Tigers a 5-0 advantage before the break. Magee’s run to the end line showcased her quality as her cross hit Gibbs in stride for an emphatic finish inside the six-yard box.
Pina then added a brace of her own just three minutes after the second-half kickoff with her second goal of the night in the 49th minute. After freshman midfielder Emma Fletcher played the ball to Pina near the top of the penalty area, Pina dribbled past a ULM defender and around a charging goalkeeper for an eight-yard strike into an empty net to cap the scoring on LSU’s 6-0 victory.
In speaking with the media following the match, Pina expressed her belief that a clinical victory by the Tigers on Tuesday night will give the team great confidence as it continues its 2013 campaign. “I like it,” Pina shared of LSU’s early-season success. “It’s a little bit different from last year. We have a great team. We’re going to have a good season.”
Arlitt contributes LSU’s offensive pressure to a different mindset than the team showed at times during the 2012 season.
“We have a lot more of an attacking mindset than last year,” Arlitt commented. “We are able to work the ball a lot better in the final third and get a lot more people involved in the attack.”
The Tigers will put their four-game home winning streak on the line on Friday night when they welcome the TCU Horned Frogs of the Big 12 Conference to Baton Rouge for a match that is set to kick off at 7 p.m. CDT at the LSU Soccer Stadium. It’s a match that precedes the opening game of the 2013 college football season as No. 12-ranked LSU and No. 20-ranked TCU square off in the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night.