Soccer Poised for Postseason Return
BATON ROUGE – While the LSU Soccer team heads to Columbia on Thursday night to battle Missouri for the final spot in the SEC Tournament in its regular-season finale, a win could also see the Tigers make their return to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
LSU is among four teams playing for one spot in the SEC Tournament field next week as Missouri, Kentucky and Mississippi State all have their sights set on a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the annual event held at the Orange Beach Sportsplex from Oct. 30-Nov. 5.
Mississippi State would seal an SEC Tournament berth with a win at Texas A&M, but a Bulldogs loss will leave each of the remaining three teams with an opportunity to qualify. The winner of LSU’s match at Missouri on Thursday will stay alive as would Kentucky with a win at Georgia, pending the final scorelines of those matches.
The Tigers also head to Columbia with eyes on solidifying their NCAA Tournament qualification while checking in at No. 42 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index this week with one SEC match to play.
They have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the previous five seasons in which they finished the campaign with a top-50 ranking in the RPI with final rankings ranging from No. 13 to No. 44, including ending the 2015 season at No. 40 to earn an at-large berth just two seasons ago.
History would suggest the Tigers are well on their way to the NCAA Tournament again with a win at Missouri on Thursday night as they not only carry a No. 42 ranking in the NCAA’s RPI, but they also own four results in the Top 50 with a win over Cincinnati and draws against Auburn, Alabama and Mississippi State to bolster their resume.
Boasting the nation’s No. 9-ranked non-conference strength of schedule this season and No. 15-ranked overall strength of schedule including SEC matches will also solidify LSU’s claim for an at-large berth after facing a fixture list as difficult as any team in college soccer this season. The SEC is the No. 1-ranked conference nationally in the RPI with 10 of the top-50 teams in the country this season.
Their mission is simple. Win at Missouri on Thursday night and the Tigers could see their season extend to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament for the second time in three seasons and sixth time in school history. Their regular-season finale at Audrey J. Walton Stadium kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CT and will stream live on the SEC Network+.