Soccer Season Ends in Overtime at SEC Tournament

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Soccer Season Ends in Overtime at SEC Tournament

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – The LSU Soccer team saw its 2013 season come to an end on Monday night with a 1-0 overtime defeat to Auburn in the first round of the SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament as senior defender Bianca Sierra won it with a penalty kick in the 97th minute in the opening match of the tournament at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.

The Tigers (9-9-2, 5-5-1 SEC) went out in the first round of the SEC Tournament for the third-straight season following four-straight semifinal appearances from 2007-10.

With the win, Auburn (8-8-4, 3-5-3) ran its winning streak to four-straight games and its unbeaten streak to seven-straight games as it will now face SEC co-champion and No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the first match of the day on Wednesday at noon CT in the quarterfinal round. LSU and Auburn are now even at 2-2-1 in five matches played all-time at the SEC Tournament.

Freshman Megan Lee provided No. 7 seeded LSU with its best scoring opportunity of the match with just over six minutes to play in regulation when she was played in behind the Auburn defensive back line by fellow freshman Summer Clarke following a brilliant run through the middle of the park.

Clarke chipped the ball to Lee near the top of the penalty box, who then played it of her chest for a breakaway in the right side of the area. Lee’s strike came from a difficult angle from just beyond the six-yard box and zipped just wide of the left post as she nearly gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the 84th minute of play. The teams would remain deadlocked heading into overtime.

Both teams came out firing in the very first minute of overtime with each having an opportunity to end it less than 60 seconds from the kickoff.

With LSU taking the kickoff in overtime, the ball was quickly played out wide to Clarke on the right flank as she cut inside and dribbled past three Auburn Tigers for what looked to be an open left-footed shot on goal at the top of the box. Clarke’s effort was blocked by one of Auburn’s center backs tracking back to defend the shot.

Auburn struck back quickly on the other end when junior striker Chelsea Gandy-Cromer floated a header on goal off a cross coming in from the right side, but LSU’s senior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman sprinted over to her left to punch the ball away just before it found the side netting inside the right post for the game-winner.

It was Kinneman’s seventh save on the night, raising her school record to 284 saves for her collegiate career in her 60th appearance in goal for the Tigers as one of the school’s all-time great goalkeepers.

But Auburn ended it in the 97th minute when Sierra scored the only goal of the game on a penalty kick after a foul was whistled on LSU on an aerial challenge in the box. Sierra stepped up to the spot and finished down the middle for her first goal of the 2013 season to put Auburn into the quarterfinal round at the SEC Tournament with its 1-0 sudden-death victory.