Soccer Draws No. 10 BYU, 0-0

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Soccer Draws No. 10 BYU, 0-0

PROVO, Utah – Despite being held scoreless in 110 minutes of play on Thursday night at South Stadium, the Tiger defense stood strong as the LSU soccer team played the 10th-ranked and previously unblemished BYU Cougars to a 0-0 draw before a raucous crowd of 3,117 fans in Provo, Utah.

LSU (1-3-1) snapped a three-game losing skid in its fourth-straight match against a nationally-ranked club and remained unbeaten with a 1-0-1 all-time record against the Cougars (5-0-1).

The draw earned LSU its second positive result on the road all-time against a club ranked in the Top 10 of the national polls, which also includes a 2-2 draw on the road against No. 4-ranked Texas in 2007.

“Our young team took a big step forward tonight coming away with a positive result against a top-10 club in this kind of environment,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “We showed a great competitive spirit here tonight, and we got great contribution from a lot of people. We really showed a great team effort tonight. I think we handled this environment very well, and actually enjoyed playing in front of this kind of crowd.”

In a match limited in scoring opportunities, sophomore striker Carlie Banks nearly gave LSU a 1-0 lead in each half with a pair of shots on goal in front of the net.

Following a throw in along the left side in the 18th minute of play, Banks took possession of the ball off of the throw by freshman winger Nina Anderson and dribbled into the box. After splitting a pair of BYU defenders, Banks freed herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper and fired a shot from point-blank range on the top of the six-yard box that was deflected out of the area by a diving McKinzie Olson.

Banks nearly struck again for the Tigers in the 48th minute of the second half as she controlled a pass from midfielder Natalie Martineau in the left side of the box with her back to the goal. She then turned between two Cougar defenders and fired a left-footed strike from 12 yards destined for the net inside the right post that was saved again by an outstretched Olson and out of play for an LSU corner kick.

Despite scoring 15 goals in five matches entering Thursday’s contest with LSU, the Cougars were limited on the offensive end by a stifling Tiger defense that held BYU to just four shots on goal on the night.

BYU’s best opportunity on goal came in the dying minutes of the second overtime as sophomore standout and Hermann Trophy candidate Carlee Payne blasted a header from eight yards in front of the net towards the left post that was saved by LSU junior goalkeeper Mo Isom diving to her right to preserve the shutout.

While BYU outshot LSU by a 15-6 count, the Cougars only held a narrow 4-3 edge in shots on goal while the Tigers held a 6-5 advantage in corner kicks in 110 minutes of play.

“BYU is a tremendous team and is very deserving of their Top 10 ranking,” Lee said. “Their three players up top are as good a unit as there is in the country. They are definitely a handful, there’s no doubt about it. I thought we did a great job containing them and keeping them under wraps for two halves and two OTs.”

The Tigers will return to the pitch on Sunday afternoon as they host in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette in a match scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Complex. Sunday’s match is LSU’s “Camp Reunion Match” as youths who have participated in Tiger Soccer Camp will receive free admission. Also, the first 100 kids through the gate will receive free snowballs.