IN FOCUS: Zoe Higgins
Communications Student Assistant
The last time the LSU soccer team won its first five games in a season was 2008 when the Tigers stormed to a program-record 7-0 start to a campaign. Fast forward to 2017 and they are off to a flying start once again, winning each of their first five contests while outscoring their opponents, 15-1, during that span.
At the center – literally – of LSU’s early-season success has been center forward Zoe Higgins, who has found a new home leading the front line in her senior season.
“The team has been working well together this season,” Higgins said. “Our attack is super strong, and with all the assets on the team on the attacking end, they have helped me find some success early this season.”
With 23 underclassmen on the roster, Higgins has taken on a leadership role within the team this year along with her senior class of five lacing up their cleats this fall.
“We’ve had a lot of newcomers this season, and we welcomed them in very fast,” Higgins said. “That was one of our biggest goals this season, to make them feel welcome and not feeling afraid. I feel like between the leaders of this team we’ve done a very good job of that.”
Helping the younger players is something for which Higgins has taken charge.
“She has done a great job helping the freshmen acclimate to where they can help us,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Her leadership style is by leading by example, a little bit of hard work, and a little bit of rah-rah here or there. She’s filling that role perfectly.”
Higgins’ leadership has helped establish an intimate and personable culture for the LSU soccer program.
“This year I would say our overall team chemistry is very good, and it is very much a family-feel,” Higgins explained. “We all trust each other. We know if we get beat, someone will be there for us. Everyone is on board and we all have the same goal in mind, which is ultimately to win games.”
For Higgins, who transferred to LSU from Oregon, that feeling of a family atmosphere was something that drew her to Baton Rouge in the first place.
“The thing that stuck out to me about LSU was the overall environment,” Higgins explained. “Right away when I got here I was super comfortable with the coaching staff. The whole environment and culture of the school was welcoming and unique.”
Higgins played across the midfield last year, not really nailing down a true position on the pitch. She has now found that home.
Higgins has settled in as the team’s starting center forward, marking the first time in her collegiate career that she has played center forward at the NCAA Division I level.
And the change has been a welcomed one. In the team’s perfect start to the season, Higgins accounted for five goals, scoring four and assisting one in her first five starts. She actually ranks among the Top 30 goal scorers in the NCAA to this point of the season.
“The transition was a good one because now I have a specific role this year,” Higgins said. “Last year I jumped around in the midfield. Now, I know exactly what I am supposed to do, and it was probably an easier transition for me to know what is expected of me in games.”
Higgins and her LSU teammates will look to continue their early success throughout the season as they push for SEC and NCAA tournament qualification in the coming weeks and months.
“We just need to take this day-by-day and trust the process,” Higgins said. “Attack each practice as if it’s a game. Whenever we do that, I know we have the talent to be successful.”