BATON ROUGE – The LSU Soccer team saw its seven-game unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of Ole Miss on a drizzly Friday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium with All-SEC striker Rafaelle Souza scoring the only goal of the match for the Rebels on a corner kick in the 28th minute as the Tigers fell by a score of 1-0 on their home field.
The Tigers (9-4-2, 5-1-1 SEC) were the last team to be knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play to drop into second place in the league standings with 16 points.
The 24th-ranked Rebels (12-3-1, 5-2) moved into a four-way tie for third place in the SEC standings with Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina as just three points separates the top six teams. Texas A&M jumped LSU for first place on the table with its 3-0 shutout at Alabama on Friday night as the only team in the league with a 6-1 mark and 18 points in conference play.
The Tigers suffered their first defeat in eight matches as they entered the night with an impressive 6-0-1 mark dating back to a 1-0 shutout at Rice on Sept. 15. Their school record unbeaten run to open league play also came to an end at six games after setting their best unbeaten run in program history at 5-0-1 with 16 points to start SEC play.
Not only that, but LSU’s nine-game unbeaten streak in SEC regular-season games also came to an end as the Tigers fell for the first time in league play since a 3-2 overtime defeat at Tennessee on Oct. 14 of last year.
LSU appeared to be the side that would break through early in the match thanks to a pair of goal-scoring opportunities for freshman striker Summer Clarke early in the first half.
Just over seven minutes into the match, senior midfielder Alex Ramsey found Clarke in space behind the Ole Miss back line as she played a beautiful ball over the top as Clarke was forced to chip the ball over the Rebel goalkeeper Kelly McCormick coming off her line to challenge. As Clarke sized up an empty net, McCormick recovered to make a fingertip save and play the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick.
Clarke nearly scored the breakthrough once again in the 22nd minute when she was played through the Rebel defense into the left side of the penalty area by freshman midfielder Emma Fletcher. Facing a tough angle, Clarke slotted a shot past McCormick, but the ball hit the right post rolled into the six-yard box before being cleared by an Ole Miss defender.
It was Souza who would strike just four minutes later with the only goal of the match as she finished a corner kick by senior midfielder Erin Emerson for her SEC-leading 14th goal of the season at the 27:59 mark.
Neither team would find the net in the second half as the scoreboard read 1-0 in favor of the visiting Rebels after 90 minutes of action. Ole Miss ended the night with a 17-11 advantage for total shots and a 10-2 mark in corner kick, while both teams fired four shots on goal on the night.
The Tigers will now travel to Gainesville, Fla., as they take on the No. 8-ranked Florida Gators in a match that is set to kick off at noon CT at James G. Pressly Stadium. Sunday’s match has a regionally-televised broadcast on Fox Sports Net with ESPN3.com also providing live streaming video of the broadcast as part of its coverage of SEC soccer.