Soccer Season Preview Part III: The Midfield
BATON ROUGE - Fans are sure to enjoy a Canadian flare in the LSU midfield this season as a trio of senior stars will lead the team's most improved unit in 2011, including two-time All-SEC selection Allysha Chapman in the defensive midfield and All-SEC hopefuls Taryne Boudreau and Natalie Martineau in the middle as they look to facilitate the LSU attack going forward.
Chapman has made her name as arguably the top left back in the SEC during her first two seasons with the Tigers, but the Courtice, Ontario, native will join the midfield as LSU's starting defensive midfielder. Lee has decided to move Chapman to the midfield in the wake of a spring season that saw the emergence of sophomore Alex Ramsey as the team's starting left back.
Chapman actually helped ignite what was at times a stagnant LSU attack in 2010 with her move into the left midfield as she finished the season with a career high three assists.
Boudreau has also benefitted from LSU's depth along the back line as she makes a return to the midfield following a 2010 season in which she started all 21 matches as one of the Tigers' starting center backs. Boudreau, who competed as LSU's starting defensive midfielder in her first two seasons with the program in 2007 and 2009, was able to rejoin the midfield unit thanks to the emergence of redshirt freshman Jodi Calloway as a dominant center back in the spring.
A native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Boudreau made an immediate impact as an attacking midfielder in the spring season as she was the team's offensive star in a 3-2-1 campaign while competing against many of the nation's premier programs. Boudreau provided the highlight of the spring by scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 shutout of the Texas Longhorns on March 26.
Martineau proved to be a welcomed addition in her first season with the program in 2010 as she finished the season tied as the team's leading goal scorer with five goals on the campaign.
While playing primarily as an attacking midfielder, Martineau started all 21 matches with the Tigers a season ago after transferring to LSU from the University of Montevallo of Division II prior to the 2010 season. She led the team with three game-winning goals on the year, including a double overtime strike in a 1-0 victory over Kentucky on Oct. 8 of last season.
"Our fans will enjoy what they see from this group this fall," said LSU head coach Brian Lee. "I feel like we're a more dangerous team going forward this season. Having a weapon like Taryne Boudreau back for us in the attack is tremendous in our ability to create more goal-scoring opportunities. It's also big that we have the luxury of moving Chappy into the midfield full-time."
The Tigers feature experienced depth in the midfield, led by sophomore Emily Cancienne returning this fall after starting all 21 games of her true freshman season in 2010 as a defensive midfielder and center back. Cancienne is sure to fill the same role for the Tigers this fall.
The Tigers return two other part-time starters in junior Natalie Ieyoub and sophomore Nina Anderson. Also competing for time this season are sophomore Danielle Murphy and freshmen Alex Arlitt (Houston, Texas), Bonnie Campbell (Plantation, Fla.), Lexi Gibbs (Prairieville, Fla.) and Nicole McLaughlin (Cocoa Beach, Fla.).