OXFORD, Miss. - Sophomore standout Alex Arlitt led the charge with a goal and an assist in the second half to force overtime, and junior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman completed the comeback with a penalty kick goal in extra time to give the Tigers a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Rebels on Friday night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.
After the sides played to a 2-2 draw in regulation, Arlitt drew a foul in the area after nearly breaking free from the Ole Miss back line on an attack inside of three minutes of the start of extra time.
That's when Kinneman came out from her own goal to take the ensuing penalty kick as she stepped up to the spot and buried the game-winner in the 93rd minute to give the Tigers the victory and three points in the league standings in their pursuit of a spot in the SEC Tournament. They now find themselves in qualifying position in 10th place on the SEC table.
Kinneman converted a penalty kick for the second time this season as she also scored against 18th-ranked Kentucky on Sept. 23 for the first goal of her collegiate career.
With the win, the Tigers (7-7-4, 3-6-2 SEC) extended their unbeaten streak to five-straight games against the Rebels (12-6, 5-6) as they are now 3-0-2 in the series since 2008. They also improved to 9-6-4 against their SEC West rival in the all-time series that dates back to the 1996 season.
It marked the second year in row that the Tigers scored a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Rebels as they also defended their home field at the LSU Soccer Stadium a year ago.
"I actually didn't know initially that it was a PK. I couldn't see if it was inside the box or outside the box. That's when Jodi (Calloway) turned around and said, 'that's you,'" Kinneman said. "This was a really big game for us, so I knew I had to make it count. Thankfully, I did.
"We played some really good soccer in the second half to get back in it. We were passing, we were moving. It just felt like a different game. It was a great team effort."
With the Tigers facing a 2-0 deficit coming out of the halftime break, Arlitt sparked the comeback with an inspired effort in the second half as she not only scored her team-leading fourth goal of the year, but also served up her first assist of the campaign to force LSU's ninth overtime match of the year.
Arlitt pulled one back for the Tigers just seven minutes from the start of the second half when she reversed field on an Ole Miss turnover in the midfield and fired a bullet inside the right post from about 20 yards in front of the goal to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the 51:57 mark. She found herself on the attack again in the 59th minute when she beat an Ole Miss defender to the right end line, and served a cross over the head of Rebel goalkeeper Kelly McCormick to junior striker Danielle Murphy standing inside the six-yard box for the finish inside the left post to draw LSU level at the 58:31 mark.
Murphy's first goal of the season was just what the Tigers needed to force overtime as neither team could break the deadlock over the final 31 minutes, 29 seconds.
The Tigers have now played to overtime nine times in 18 matches on the year while improving to 3-2-4 in extra time with Friday's dramatic come-from-behind win in Oxford.
"We were really playing against the odds having to come back from 2-0 down, so we knew it was going to be a fight to try and get ourselves back in it," Arlitt said. "I knew that if the ball ever came to me, I needed to do everything in my power to create a chance with a goal or an assist or whatever.
"Once you just get one goal back, you're in it and the whole mindset of the team changes. We played with more confidence and knew we could get the equalizer."
Junior striker Mandy McCalla gave the Rebels an early lead in the match as she found the back of the net in the 11th minute for her first of two goals on the night.
After running onto a square ball near the midfield circle, McCalla dribbled to the arch and unloaded a right-footed strike from the top of the penalty box that found the back of the net inside the left post to give the home side a 1-0 lead at the 10:31 mark. It was the 11th goal of the season for the Rebel junior.
It only took 10 minutes for McCalla to push the Ole Miss lead to 2-0 while scoring her second goal of the night following a Rebel corner kick in the 21st minute of play. After the initial corner kick service was cleared out of the area by the Tiger defense, freshman forward Sara Coleman played the ball back into the area as McCalla cleaned up the loose ball at the top of the six-yard box at the 20:11 mark for her team-leading 12th goal of the 2012 campaign to complete the scoring for the home side.
"It was a real smash-and-grab for us tonight," said LSU head coach Brian Lee. "We didn't play well at all in the first half, but our kids showed great character to come out in the second half and get a couple of goals and come away with a big win in overtime. We certainly needed the result and the three points tonight.
"Artie (Alex Arlitt) really sparked the comeback with her effort. She scored a great goal to get us back in it, and kept it going from there."
The Tigers will remain on the road this weekend as they make their first trip to Columbia, Mo., to battle the 16th-ranked Missouri Tigers in a match that is set to kick off at 1 p.m. CT at the Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium. LSU will wrap up the 2012 regular season on Thursday night by playing host to the Arkansas Razorbacks at the LSU Soccer Stadium in Baton Rouge.