Soccer to Face Memphis in Samford Classic
BATON ROUGE — The LSU soccer team will put its four-game unbeaten streak on the line Thursday as it travels to Birmingham, Ala., to take on the Memphis Tigers at 5 p.m. in the first game of the 2007 Long’s Electronics Samford Classic at Bulldog Field.
Thursday’s match will feature two of the premier teams in the Central Region as LSU (2-0-0) is ranked No. 10 in the region in the latest Soccer Buzz rankings, while Memphis (2-0-0) is No. 10 in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America regional poll.
LSU has dropped both of its matches with Memphis in the all-time series, but the sides have not faced one another since 1996 when Memphis held the Tigers scoreless in a 4-0 shutout. LSU also fell by the score of 5-0 in the program’s inaugural season in 1995.
The Tigers have gotten off to a fast start in 2007 after dominating Southern Miss on Friday by the score of 3-0 and following with a 2-0 shutout of in-state rival Louisiana Tech on Sunday.
“This is sure to be a great early season match-up between two of the top teams in our region,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Memphis likes to get out and attack, which is going to put a lot of pressure on our defense. It’s going to be a big step up in competition for our team from last weekend, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Sophomore all-conference midfielder Melissa Clarke is working her way back into form after suffering a season-ending knee injury a year ago as she was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player for the LSU Classic with a pair of goals in the Tigers’ opening weekend.
Clarke was not the only LSU standout to get off to a fast start in 2007 as five other Tigers were named to the LSU Classic All-Tournament Team, including juniors Casey Crawford and Roslyn Jones, sophomores Chelsea Potts and Malorie Rutledge, and freshman Taryne Boudreau.
Senior goalkeeper Valerie Vogler is beginning to move up the school’s all-time list for shutouts as she posted her seventh and eighth career clean sheets over the weekend and has recorded three straight dating back to last season to move into sole possession of third place.
Vogler has been in goal in each of the last four games during the Tigers’ current unbeaten streak as she has not allowed an opponent to score a goal in her last 302:08 between the posts.
“We had a number of kids get off to a fast start in our opening weekend, and we’re going to need that to continue if we hope to come away with two good results this week,” Lee said. “We’re starting to come together as a team, and we hope to build on that chemistry starting Thursday.”
The Tigers follow with a match against regionally-ranked Miami on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Samford Classic as the Hurricanes enter the weekend ranked No. 12 in the Southeast Region in the latest Soccer Buzz regional rankings. They return to the LSU Soccer Complex on Sept. 14 to take on McNeese State in a match scheduled for 7 p.m.