BATON ROUGE – Providing valuable leadership to a youthful defensive back line for the Tigers during the 2013 season will be senior Addie Eggleston and junior Alex Arlitt as Eggleston returns as the squad’s starting right back and Arlitt has proven her defensive mettle as a defensive midfielder and center back in her two seasons in Baton Rouge.
A converted striker and wing midfielder, Eggleston has cracked LSU’s starting lineup on each level of the field during her collegiate career while emerging as the team’s starting right back last fall.
Eggleston, who has earned 55 starts in 64 career appearances for the Tigers since 2010, made the move to the back line midway through the 2012 season. She has proven herself as an offensive threat at each level by scoring seven goals and dishing out 15 assists in her three seasons with the Tigers.
Arlitt is arguably the most versatile Tiger on the 2013 roster with the ability to star in attacking or defensive midfield roles or in central defense as a leader of the back line. If her performance against Nicholls State in the team’s 4-1 exhibition victory on Friday night is any indication, Arlitt will open the season the season as one of LSU’s two starting center backs.
Despite playing mostly a defensive role for the Tigers as a sophomore a year ago, Arlitt even tied as the team’s leading goal scorer with a career-high four goals on the 2012 campaign.
Arlitt turned in one of the great individual performances in the program’s history in a 3-2 overtime victory over Ole Miss a year ago when she almost single-handedly brought the Tigers back from a 2-0 halftime deficit for a historic win in Oxford. Arlitt scored LSU’s first goal for the match early in the second half, assisted the game-tying goal minutes later and drew the penalty in overtime that led to the winning spot kick in a defeat of their SEC rivals.
The Tigers will feature a world-class back line as they welcome a pair of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup veterans into the lineup. Incoming freshmen Megan Lee and Rebecca Pongetti earned starts for New Zealand and Canada, respectively, as they lined up in world’s premier youth tournament held last year in the Eastern European nation of Azerbaijan.
Lee is poised to crack the lineup as Eggleston’s counterpart on the left side of the field as she joins the program as a pure left-footed left back with a strong international pedigree. Lee is a veteran of New Zealand’s Young Football Ferns while competing in each of the last two FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups in 2010 and 2012, earning a total of 15 international caps at the U-17 level through the 2012 season.
One of the bright young stars in all of New Zealand football, Lee earned a call-up to New Zealand’s senior squad for its international tour of Australia and Japan back in June.
Like Lee, Pongetti also saw action at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as one of Canada’s starting center backs in each of its four matches in a run to the quarterfinal round. A former captain of the U-15 Canadian Women’s National Team, Pongetti earned 10 caps for Canada at the U-17 level as a heralded product from Hamilton, Ontario.
Pongetti is even turning her attention to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that will be hosted by Canada next year after securing invitations to two of the three national EXCELeration camps in the spring as she is poised to join Canada’s U-20 player pool for the tournament.
Providing LSU’s back line with experienced depth is sophomore Tori Sample, who has seen action in each position at center back, right back and left back during her collegiate career. After seeing action in 18 matches in the attacking midfield and right back positions in her first season with the Tigers a year ago, Sample has made the permanent move to the back line as she provides the Tigers with a valuable option in defense.
Sample ranked as one of the team’s top scorers as a redshirt freshman after netting two goals and serving up three assists for seven points during the 2012 campaign.
Also seeing action in LSU’s 4-1 victory over Nicholls State in their exhibition match held on Friday night was first-year sophomore Gracie Campbell, who showed great promise while spelling Lee at left back.
Senior Nina Anderson looks to reclaim her spot in the playing rotation in 2013 after suffering a knee injury during the spring season that kept her out of action for the remainder of the spring and summer. While playing at left back with 18 starts in her 20 appearances a year ago, Anderson has the ability to play in defense or join in the attack on the front line while playing both positions during her collegiate career.
Junior Nicole McLaughlin will also provide depth to the team’s back line as she enters her third season with the program this fall.
“We’re excited to see the progression of our back line unit through the 2013 season,” Lee said. “We’ll be very young in spots, but we’ve got some talent back from last year and also some talent joining the squad in the preseason that is promising. Players like Alex Arlitt and Addie Eggleston will give us great leadership at the back. We’re also excited to add some world-class players like Megan Lee and Rebecca Pongetti to the mix.”