The momentum builds
Week one was nice, as LSU won its opener and then took an outmatched foe behind the woodshed. But the real test for Sian Hudson’s rebuild was week two: a Florida roadtrip to face two ranked squads on the road.
This was an early report card for the Tigers and, well, they passed with flying colors. LSU took an early lead against USF when Athena Kuehn put away Rammie Noel’s cross in the 12th minute.
LSU looked to extend its lead, as both Kuehn and Tinaya Alexander got excellent chances, which were deftly turned away by the USF keeper. LSU put five shots on net in that first half, but simply couldn’t add to the lead. That’s the virtue of a great keeper.
LSU had the momentum and while they did not add to the lead before the half, it seemed like it was inevitable in the second. And that’s when the rains came. A thunderstorm delayed the game for an hour, and by the time of the restart, the complexion of the game completely changed.
Now it was USF dictating the flow and getting all of the chances. Mollee Swift made two early saves, but in the 66th minute, Reese Moffatt was called for a foul inside the box, leading to a USF penalty kick. Sydney Nasello calmly placed it in the top corner to tie the match.
I the 72nd minute, the pressure kept building, and Mollee Swift was forced to mae two leaping saves to keep the game tied. The game seemed to be slipping away. LSU fought back and the chances for both teams largely dried up in the final fifteen minutes. It looked like LSU was going to eke out a well-earned draw on the road, until…
TIGERS WIN TIGERS WIN
Maddie Moreau scores the gamewinner with 30 seconds left and Rammie Noel picks up her second assist of the match!!!!!#GeauxTigers pic.twitter.com/vWrqWxnRqD
— LSU Soccer (@LSUSoccer) August 26, 2021
That’s as close to a buzzer beater as you get in soccer. Maddie Moreau shocked the Bulls with a goal I the game’s final minute, and LSU shocked USF, 2-1.
What to do for an encore? How about beat another ranked Florida school on the road?
The UCF game lacked the drama of Thursday’s tilt, but instead it was a comfortable domination of a top 25 squad. LSU dominated possession throughout, had the bulk of the chances, and outshot UCF 16-10, 10-2 on net.
Molly Thompson put LSU up in the first by tapping in a cross on a scrum in front of the net in the game’s 22nd minute. LSU kept piling on the pressure, but couldn’t finish. The teams went into the half tied at one, and LSU knowing that it had left goals on the field.
An error they quickly rectified. Just four minutes into the second half, Tinaya Alexander fired a rocket from the top of the box to put LSU up, 2-0. UCF would barely threaten for the rest of the game.
If anything, LSU played like the team down two goals, keeping the pressure on, and living by the adage that if the other team doesn’t have the ball, they can’t score. It was an utterly dominant win, made notably by how business-like it all seemed. LSU didn’t luck into this one or have to scrap it out. They were the better team.
It is LSU’s first consecutive wins over top 25 programs since 2011. More notably, it is only the fourth and fifth wins over ranked teams on the road in program history. In one week, Hudson nearly doubled the LSU road wins over ranked teams.
It’s still early, but this team looks legit. LSU soccer is good again, and could be ranked as early as this week when the poll comes out. Get on the bandwagon now.
Defeated #15 USF, 2-1
Defeated #19 UCF, 2-0
Thursday, vs. Arizona @Tempe, Pac-12 Now
Sunday, @ Arizona St., Pac-12 Now
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