Soccer Draws Tennessee, 1-1

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Box Score +0
Soccer Draws Tennessee, 1-1

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Junior midfielder Natalie Martineau buried the equalizer with just 2 minutes, 58 seconds to play in regulation as the LSU soccer team picked up its first point in SEC play with a 1-1 draw against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers on a drizzly Sunday afternoon at the Regal Soccer Stadium.

With the Tigers trailing by a 1-0 margin in the waning moments of Sunday’s contest, Martineau equalized with her team-leading third goal of the season at the 87:02 mark to send the game into overtime.

An initial shot by senior Courtney Alexander was deflected wide by Tennessee goalkeeper Molly Baird to LSU’s All-SEC defensive star Allysha Chapman standing alone in the left side of the penalty area. Chapman served the ball back into the six-yard box, where Martineau emerged from the scramble with an attempt inside the right post to draw the Tigers level at 1-1.

Neither side could find the back of the net in 20 minutes of overtime as LSU (3-5-2, 0-1-1 SEC) secured a point against Tennessee (4-5-1, 1-0-1 SEC) for the first time in a match played in Knoxville.

“I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Chappy played a great ball into the box, and I was in good position to get on the end of it,” Martineau said. “We just kept fighting. We’re not satisfied with a draw, but it’s a good step for us to come here and get our first point in SEC play. That’s all that matters at this point. We need to build on this and get ready for next weekend.”

Sophomore midfielder Amy Harrison gave Tennessee a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute of play with a goal that was scored against the run of play following her team’s first corner kick of the match.

Following a service into the penalty area by midfielder Emily Shore from the right corner flag, Tennessee defender Ali Hall pounced on a loose ball and fired a shot from 12 yards off the crossbar and seemingly out of danger. But the ball popped out to Harrison standing alone at the top of the box, and the sophomore buried a shot into the back of the net from about 20 yards at the 18:59 mark of the first half.

With Tennessee scoring the first goal of the match off a corner kick, the LSU defense still has not allowed a goal to an opponent in the run of play since Sept. 3 against 17th-ranked Wake Forest.

While freshman goalkeeper Megan Kinneman made six saves in her third start of the season, it was junior defender Kellie Murphy who made the defensive play of the game in the second overtime as she headed a ball off the line and out of play to preserve the draw in the 104th minute of play.

Kinneman came charging off her line to cut off Dowd’s angle on goal as she sprung free in the left side of the box, but the Tennessee striker chipped a shot over Kinneman’s head and, seemingly, into the back of the net for the winner. But Murphy raced back and headed the ball outside the right post for a corner kick.

“Our team showed a lot of character to keep fighting and score a late goal and salvage a point in SEC play this weekend,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Georgia and Tennessee is a difficult road trip for any team on the opening weekend of league play. I am proud of our team for the way we fought and competed this weekend. We need to continue that when we go back home next weekend.”

Despite its offensive struggles in recent weeks, the Tigers held the advantage in the flow of play for much of regulation as they outshot the Lady Volunteers by a 7-4 count in the first half and a 15-12 margin at the end of 90 minutes with each team attempting six shots on goal.

Tennessee turned up the pressure in overtime and finished the match with a 22-17 advantage in total shots and an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. LSU held the edge by a 5-4 count in corner kicks.

The Tigers will open up a four-game SEC homestand next weekend as they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday at 7 p.m. CDT at the LSU Soccer Complex. Friday’s match is “Cram the Complex” and an anticipated “Student Point Match.” Fans can purchase tickets to the match for just $1, while students have free admission by presenting their student IDs at the front gate.

LSU will follow with a match against the 25th-ranked Auburn Tigers on Sunday, Oct. 3, that is slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff at the LSU Soccer Complex. Cox Sports Television will broadcast the match live on TV.