Soccer Looks to Rebound Against Vanderbilt
BATON ROUGE — The LSU soccer team will face the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores in a cross-divisional Southeastern Conference matchup at 7 p.m. on Friday as the Tigers host Vanderbilt at the LSU Soccer Complex for the first time in three years.
“We’re coming off of a tough weekend, but that can’t take away from the fact that we’re having a good season and that we are a very good team,” said LSU head coach George Fotopoulos. “I just hope that my team realizes that, because a we have a pair of tough games coming up. We have both Vanderbilt and Kentucky this weekend and they are both two great teams in this conference.”
LSU heads into Friday night’s SEC battle with an overall record of 10-4-1 and conference mark of 2-3-1 on the season. The Tigers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak after falling against SEC rivals South Carolina, 2-0, Alabama, 2-1, and Auburn, 3-2.
All four of LSU’s losses during the 2002 campaign have come against opponents ranked among the top-10 teams of their respective regions. Miami, the 23rd-ranked team in the nation, handed the Tigers’ their first defeat, 1-0, while Auburn is No. 6 in the Southeast Region followed by South Carolina at No. 7 and Alabama at No. 10.
“This is going to be a tough match, but we know that we’re a good team and we’ve proven that throughout our season,” Fotopoulos said. “I’m hoping that we can just regroup from last week and get ready for an important weekend for us. These games have some major implications for us in the conference, because if we lose both of them, then we don’t have a good chance of making the NCAA Tournament or the SEC Tournament.”
Vanderbilt returns to Baton Rouge for the first time since 1999 when the Lady Commodores stifled LSU in a 5-0 one-sided victory. In 2000, the Tigers traveled to Nashville, Tenn., and upset Vanderbilt, 1-0, in the teams’ SEC regular season finale. With the victory, LSU earned its first post-season appearance since 1998.
The Lady Commodores enter Friday’s game with an overall record of 4-8-1 on the season and a 2-4-1 conference mark. Vanderbilt is currently in the precarious position of needing to win its final two SEC games in order to qualify for the SEC Tournament. The Commodores have played in nine-consecutive SEC tournaments and won the conference title in both 1993 and 1994.
“Vanderbilt’s going to come in here and play some of their best soccer,” said Fotopoulos. “They are in the same position as we are and it is a make-or-break game for them as well. For them, it’s a one-game elimination and they need two wins this weekend to secure a spot in the SEC Tournament.”
The LSU soccer team will look to win its second-consecutive game against the Lady Commodores on Friday, as the Tigers host Vanderbilt in a crucial SEC contest at 7 p.m. at the newly-renovated LSU Soccer Complex.
The contest is being tabbed as CC’s World of Coffees International Night and the LSU promotional team will be giving away cultural treats from countries around the world.