No. 4-Seed Soccer Set to Face No. 5 Auburn at SEC's
BATON ROUGE — The 25th-ranked LSU soccer team is set to open play in the first round of the 2007 SEC Tournament on Wednesday as it takes on Auburn in a match scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.
The SEC Tournament returns to Orange Beach for the third-straight season and will kick off with four first-round matches beginning at noon. Two semifinal matches are scheduled for Friday with the tournament final set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
The Tigers (11-3-6, 5-2-4 SEC) will compete as the No. 4 seed this week following a 1-0 shutout of Arkansas on Friday that clinched their first SEC Western Division title in program history.
LSU finished just one point ahead of Auburn in the league standings with 19 points during the regular season as the Tigers from the Plains enter the tournament as the No. 5 seed. Auburn shut out the Tigers earlier this season by a 2-0 margin at the Auburn Soccer Complex on Oct. 12.
“Auburn presents a very difficult challenge for us in the opening round of the SEC Tournament tomorrow, but that is just part of competing in one of the top conference in the country,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “There is no easy game any time you step on the field in the SEC and we’re looking forward to a great match tomorrow night.”
The Tigers have enjoyed some success against their division rival in the SEC Tournament in the past as they are the only No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in tournament history after shocking top-seeded Auburn by the score of 1-0 on Nov. 7, 2002.
This is LSU’s only win in five previous appearances in the SEC Tournament and is the last time the squad defeated Auburn, which is riding a current five-game winning streak in the series.
LSU is making its first appearance since 2005 and will compete with its highest seed in program history. No. 2 Georgia and No. 7 Ole Miss open play at noon, while No. 3 Tennessee and No. 6 South Carolina kick off at 2:30 p.m. and No. 1 Florida and No. 8 Kentucky square off at 5 p.m.
The SEC Tournament champion will be awarded an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament when bids are handed out by the selection committee on Monday, Nov. 12 (ESPNews, 7 p.m. CST).
“We’re going to Orange Beach to try to win the tournament, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Lee said. “We haven’t thought about anything past our match against Auburn on Wednesday. There is no other way to approach a tournament like this or you’ll be headed home. We have enough challenges to worry about when we kick it off against Auburn.”
The winner between LSU and Auburn will take on the winner of the match featuring Florida and Kentucky in Friday’s semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Live stats for all seven matches at this year’s SEC Tournament can be found by logging on to www.secsports.com.