Lee Previews Soccer Season at Media Day

LSU's Brian Lee
LSU's Brian Lee
Chris Parent (@chrisparent)
Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - LSU head soccer coach Brian Lee met with members of the media Wednesday afternoon to preview the upcoming season and talk about what he expects from the Tigers as part of 2011 LSU Soccer & Volleyball Media Day held at the LSU Athletic Administration Building.

Seniors Taryne Boudreau, Allysha Chapman, Mo Isom and Kellie Murphy also took part in the preseason festivities as the Tigers prepare for the 2011 season opener at Memphis on Friday, Aug. 19.

Comments from head coach Brian Lee at LSU Soccer Media Day

Opening Statement ...
"As I was listening to Fran (Flory), I just realized that we've had six seasons here, and the volleyball team has won six SEC Western championships and the football team in the fall has won two national championships in that time. We're coming off a season that there was a time that would have been a season of celebration for LSU Soccer, finished second in the SEC West, finished sixth in the SEC and go out in the SEC tournament semifinals. But over the last five or six years, we've developed a program where that was disappointing. Basically, we went out on penalties in the SEC tournament semifinal by skying the last ball over the goal, and by the time it landed, our minds had flipped to 2011.

"For the past nine months the kids and the staff have worked extremely hard to get back to where volleyball and football are. For nine months they've been up at 6 a.m. They've run, they've lifted, they've gotten stronger. We've got a very young group with a tremendous senior class at the top of them, but the basis of the team is young. We talk about a phrase "deserve to win" all the time with us, and right now coming in to the 2011 season, we feel like this group really earnestly deserves to win when the game starts. They've put in all the work, they've lived the right way, they've done their job in the classroom and community and we're really excited to get the season going. We're 10 practices in to our fall camp. The biggest core I think we're trying to accomplish is we're transitioning to a 4-3-3. We feel like we got a great front line, we feel like they're young but they're talented, and we want to get as many of them on the field as we possibly can. That's gone well. The team showed up in great shape, probably the most fit, strongest, tested team we've had here in our time at LSU.

"We've got a senior class that I'm ultra-excited about. They're with us today. We have three Canadians, Natalie Martineau, Allysha Chapman and then Taryne Boudreau, who have youth international experience. Three of the very best midfielders in the world also helps when you move in to a 4-3-3. You've got to dominate the midfield with a man down and we think they can do that. We've also got Mo Isom, one of the most storied players in our LSU Soccer history whose been tremendous on and off the field for us in goal. And we've got Kellie Murphy who is a Louisiana product. I truly feel like there is a special thing here at this institution. When you find a Louisiana kid who can play at the level were trying to accomplish things at, they add a special little dimension, and Kellie Murphy is our senior captain. Her freshman year, came in and played as a substitute, her sophomore year worked her way in to the starting lineup, her junior year became an integral leader within the team, and I really think she's poised for a fantastic senior season. But it is certainly extra special when it comes from a home town Louisiana kid.

"Our schedule is super strong again. Seven of our nine non-conference games are against teams in the top 100 of the RPI. The first five are one the road. If we're going to have a better season we've got to go on the road and win more games this fall. We open with Memphis next Friday, who has been a Top 30 team for last several seasons. Our home opener on Sept. 9 that Will (Stafford) mentioned, Oregon Ducks coming in is kind of fitting a week after football plays them. We will open our brand new stadium with the Oregon Ducks. It's a great opponent. Our soccer stadium, if you have not been by yet, is a first-class facility. We think it's the best facility in the SEC. We think we have the hardest home environment to play in our conference and one of the hardest in the country. Over the past five years, I think we've lost five home games. We've done that in front of bleachers, now when the fans come and its free, you can come out and be in a first-class facility and hopefully continue to help us win games. And there's only, big picture with the stadium, there's only one chance to come to the first game ever. We think we're going to have a fantastic product on the field. We think we're going to get back to being in the SEC West race and we think we're going to make a real run at the SEC overall title this fall. There's one chance for the fans to ever come to the opening game in a beautiful new stadium that seats 2,200. We'll hope for a sellout that night, or maybe even overflow and the kids will entertain you with a good product if you do come out."

On his expectation for the 2011 season ...
"When we talk deserve to win, you've also got to deserve to win on game day. They've done all the hard work and we recruited well. It's a talented group of good kids who the coaching staff really likes a lot as well. They're fit, they're strong, they're good players and they deserve to win in the way they acted on the field, in the classroom and at practice. But when the game starts, it's 90 minutes long and you got to win that day too. You've got to work harder than the other team, you've got to play better than the other team for those 90 minutes and you've got to do it day in and day out. We think we're in that situation. We think the team's matured enough and the leadership is outstanding so we won't ebb and flow. We think we're certainly in top two in the league talent wise, top two or three.  If we stay healthy, our opportunities are great."

On the advantages and disadvantages of playing in a 4-3-3 ...
"Well, you will end up a little more direct than we will like to be as a coaching staff just by the nature that there being three forwards, four backs and three midfielders instead of four, maybe even five. That's it in its most basic, but we're five, maybe six, deep up front with really strong, athletic, slashing forwards that we want to get on the field as much as possible."

On the team improving its play on the road in 2011 ...
"We go into every season, whatever it is, we win loads of games at home. You can never pencil anything in, but we're very good at home and our fan support is incredible. We really feel it earnestly in a game or if goals are hard to come by. When were at home, we're opening with a 1-0 lead in the game. But we've got to be better on the road, and when you talk SEC championships, you talk SEC West, you talk NCAA seeds, which is really the non-conference portion of the season, we're playing for an NCAA bid and NCAA seed as well. You've got to win the road games, and for us, I think it's maturing as a group, it's physically being able to handle the demands. Last year, we probably had six or seven freshman in our normal rotation. Everything was new and it was hard for us a group to collectively handle the travel. I think maturity takes care of it and a great will to win. We go back to deserve to win. The kids worked so hard, I can't imagine a game pops up this fall where their effort and determination isn't through the roof."

Comments from senior Taryne Boudreau

On being a senior on a team with so many underclassmen ...
"The younger players are obviously going to look to us for leadership and experience, and we have to lead the team by example on the field. To me, my biggest thing as a leader is I'm going to help my freshmen out and even my sophomores and juniors if they need help with positioning or anything like that. I'm going to be there to help them through it. All of us as a senior class know that we need to step up and make the team come together quick and produce."

On the style of the team this season ...
"We will be very possession-oriented with a lot of ball control and very fast. We're very quick and very talented, and you will definitely be entertained by us."

Comments from senior Allysha Chapman

On if she is excited about the team and the season this year ...
"I am, and I'm a lot more excited after the good spring we had. We had a very good schedule and we came out with a 3-2-1 record. I'm looking forward to an extremely improved season from last year."

On the new soccer facility ...
"I'm excited, but I'm sure the fans are a lot more excited than I am. It wasn't exactly the greatest stadium before, but they stuck through it and we have some of the greatest fans in the nation for college soccer. I'm sure they are more excited than I am, but I'm really excited to have that and hopefully it will grow the fan base."

On the new 4-3-3 formation ...
"Well, we have a lot more strikers now. We have a lot more talent there this year and he (Brian Lee) wants to use it, so the best way to do that is to play with three strikers instead of two. We are going to play more attacking style because we need goals. We are solid on the defense with a lot of returning defenders so we need to focus on getting the ball in the net."

Comments from senior Mo Isom

On her senior season ...
"It's gone by so quickly. To sit here now as a senior and see the development of the younger girls that have come in, both emotionally and athletically on the field, it's sort of bittersweet. I can't believe I'm a senior now and I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. It's a wonderful team to be leading and it's a wonderful team to play behind. I'm looking forward to the season, we have an excellent squad and it's going to be a lot of fun."

On if the competition at goalkeeper ...
"There's definitely competition at goalkeeper. Megan (Kinneman) is a fantastic goalkeeper and she's incredibly talented. Just having that competition between both of us really pushes each of us to the next level. We get along so well and we're great friends and good training partners. This season, in all honesty, is going to be game-to-game with the best keeper in from the training session that week. There's no security in a starting position. It's just a battle. I think she's got the upper hand on me right now simply because I was down and out for a while last season but I feel healthy and I'm ready to compete and get into the games."

On the team rebounding after a tough season last year ...
"It was tough last season. To come in from my freshman and sophomore years with such powerful players such as Malorie Rutledge and Rachel Yepez and the legacy that they carried, to play in that and then have a junior season where we brought in that many freshmen and to lose that many seniors was a big adjustment. It was tough to see us a dip, but those freshmen have been working so hard and the upperclassmen have been working hard too, so I think we're going to be right back up to par where we were. LSU Soccer is back on the rise so it's definitely going to be an enjoyable season."




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