Soccer to Host National Power BYU on CST

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Soccer to Host National Power BYU on CST

BATON ROUGE – The 25th-ranked LSU Soccer team will wrap up its four-game homestand to open the 2013 season when it renews its non-conference rivalry against the unbeaten and No. 6-ranked BYU Cougars in a nationally-ranked clash at the LSU Soccer Stadium as part of Monday Night Futbol on Cox Sports Television.

Fans can “Geaux Free!” to each of LSU’s six remaining home matches during the 2013 regular season as admission is free at the LSU Soccer Stadium, compliments of The Advocate.

Fans who are unable to attend the match can also watch the Tigers in action as the contest is set for a regionally-televised broadcast on Cox Sports Television. In addition, supporters can receive live updates during the match by following @LSUSoccer on Twitter or by joining the in-game commentary on LSU Soccer’s official Facebook page.

The Tigers (2-0-1) are riding a five-game home unbeaten streak dating back to last season as they enter the contest as they boast a No. 25 national ranking in the most recent Top 25.

The Cougars (2-0) are among the NCAA’s premier programs once again as a consensus Top 10 team in the national rankings released last week. They make the trip to Baton Rouge ranked as high as No. 6 nationally with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25, while they are also ranked No. 8 in the Top 25, No. 9 in the Soccer America Top 25 and No. 10 in the Soccer Times Top 25.

BYU is just one year removed from a historic season for the program while earning a No. 1 national seed and advancing to the Elite Eight of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Cougars claimed a West Coast Conference championship while finishing the campaign with a sparking 20-2-2 overall record en route to the Elite Eight.

“We will certainly have a true measure of where we are as a team when we step onto the field with BYU tomorrow night,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Jennifer Rockwood has done a tremendous job of building up their program during her tenure. They’re one of the true powers in the college game right now, and deserve that recognition with their performance in recent years.

“We’re looking for to a great college soccer match right here in Baton Rouge tomorrow night. It will be a great way for our fans to end their Labor Day holiday. When they come out to the game, they will get a chance to see some of the best players in the country play on our home field. We always have great environments for big games, and we look forward to the same here tomorrow night.”

The Tigers are unbeaten in their two previous meetings with the Cougars in a series that began just five years ago during the 2008 season.

LSU scored a 4-1 victory over the 18th-ranked Cougars in their inaugural meeting in Baton Rouge in 2008 before playing to a scoreless draw against 10th-ranked BYU in Provo, Utah, early on during the 2010 season.

The Tigers have enjoyed their share of success against top-10 teams during the Brian Lee era as they have earned four wins and two draws against teams ranked among the Top 10 of the national polls since he became the head coach. That record includes a 2-2 draw at No. 4 Texas and a 3-0 win over No. 6 Tennessee in 2007, a 6-0 blanking of No. 8 Georgia and 1-0 victory over No. 10 South Carolina in 2009 and the 2-0 shutout of No. 10 Tennessee in 2011 along with a scoreless draw at No. 10 BYU in their last meeting in 2010.

Something has to give on the defensive end if either team is to come away with a win on Monday night as the Tigers and Cougars have only conceded one goal between them through the first two weeks of the year.

The Tigers have pitched three-straight shutouts to open the 2013 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Louisiana Tech on Aug. 23, a 6-0 defeat of UL-Monroe on Tuesday and a 0-0 draw with TCU on Friday. LSU is on a streak of 290 minutes without conceding a goal with three-straight clean sheets for the first time since the 2005 season.

The Cougars are off to a fast start this fall following a 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton on opening night on Aug. 23 and a 3-0 shutout of Nebraska on Saturday in a pair of matches played in Provo, Utah. Midfielder Rachel Manning is the team’s leading goal scorer with two goals heading into Monday’s match, while four other Cougars have scored one goal apiece through two matches.

In the spirit of Monday Night Futbol, the night will have Hispanic Heritage Night at the LSU Soccer Stadium in celebration of the rich tradition of the sport of soccer in the Hispanic community. The first 250 fans attending the match will receive free LSU Tigres Futbol t-shirts.

After playing host to the BYU Cougars on Monday night, the Tigers will go on the road for the first time next weekend when they make the trip to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Minnesota Gold Classic beginning Friday at the University of Minnesota. LSU will face Minnesota on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT before battling the 13th-ranked USC Trojans on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m.