BATON ROUGE - Freshman Heather Magee struck first in the fourth minute before fellow freshman Jade Kovacevic found the back of the net in the 40th minute of play to lead the homestanding LSU Soccer team to a 2-0 shutout of the Houston Cougars on Sunday afternoon at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (2-1-1) returned to the win column while remaining unbeaten in the series as they improved to 3-0-1 in four meetings all-time with the Cougars (2-3) on the pitch.
The Tigers returned to the pitch for the first time in a week after Friday's match with Stephen F. Austin was postponed to Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Isaac moving through Louisiana on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. They will take on the Ladyjacks on Tuesday evening with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. CT in Baton Rouge.
"We just weren't sharp for much of the day today," said LSU head coach Brian Lee following Sunday's victory. "I really thought we played better in our last game for large portions of the NC State game. The practice routine was a little affected by Hurricane Isaac, but that's certainly no excuse. We're happy to win the game and score a couple of really good goals for our effort."
It took Magee no time to give the Tigers an early 1-0 advantage as she rifled the first shot of the match on target from 20 yards and inside the top-right corner of the net.
After freshman center back Colby Maffei played the ball to freshman midfielder Fernanda Pina down the left wing, Pina sent a right-footed cross to Magee shielding a Houston defender 25 yards in front of the goal. Magee settled it with her body, took one touch, turned and fired a cracker from distance that sailed over the outstretched arms of a leaping Cami Koski in goal for the Cougars and into the back of the net for her first goal as an LSU Tiger just 3 minutes, 38 seconds into the match.
Kovacevic gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish at the 39:31 mark of the first half on a class finish for her first career goal in an LSU uniform.
After winning the ball near midfield on a Houston goal kick, junior striker Addie Eggleston played the ball through the Cougar midfield to redshirt freshman Victoria Sample making a diagonal run in behind the Cougar back line and into the right side of the penalty area. Sample then took one touch of the ball before playing an end-line cross into the middle of the area, where Kovacevic was waiting to bury a one-time volley from eight yards past a helpless Koski in net and push the LSU lead to 2-0 before the break.
The Canadian Under-20 international certainly made the most of her debut as she saw her first action with the Tigers on Sunday afternoon following her duty at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan over the past two weeks.
"We have a lot of young kids among our best players right now," Lee said. "We're going to have some growing pains in terms of sharpness, but they're doing a fantastic job and are working hard to better themselves each and every day. We're still figuring out where some of them best help our team positionally."
Junior Megan Kinneman was up to the challenge defensively as she helped organize an LSU unit that limited the Cougars to just one shot on frame in the match. Kinneman pitched her second shutout for the 2012 season and posted her eighth clean sheet as an LSU Tiger.
The Tigers continue their 10-game homestand on Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. CT when they battle the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks in a postponed match in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. LSU will then finish up its non-conference slate with a pair of fixtures against NCAA Tournament qualifiers from a season ago as they host Florida International on Friday night before facing Memphis as part of Monday Night Futbol on Sept. 10 at the LSU Soccer Stadium.