Baucom Scores Again as Soccer Draws Ball State

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Baucom Scores Again as Soccer Draws Ball State

BATON ROUGE – Sophomore striker Jorian Baucom opened the scoring with her team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 34th minute of play, but Ball State’s Elaina Musleh leveled it at 1-1 in the 50th minute as the Tigers and Cardinals played to a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s nightcap at the Stomp in the Swamp at the LSU Soccer Stadium.

Friday’s match marked LSU’s first ever meeting with Ball State (3-1-1) on the soccer pitch as they followed a 2-0 win by Indiana over Middle Tennessee State in the opening match at the Stomp in the Swamp.

The Tigers (3-0-2) remained unbeaten after five matches to start their season for the first time since 2008 when they set a school record with seven-straight wins to open a campaign. That followed a 2007 season when LSU went unbeaten in their first eight matches to start the season while posting a 6-0-2 mark en route to earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

Baucom provided the offensive spark once again for the Tigers as she opened the scoring on 34 minutes after senior midfielder Natalia Gomez-Junco stepped up to take a free kick near the center circle at midfield.

Gomez-Junco found Baucom with a brilliant service into the box as the striker’s flicked header found the back of the net past a diving Ball State goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel to give the home side a 1-0 advantage from the 33:43 mark of the first half. Baucom netted her team-leading fourth goal of the season, while Gomez-Junco served up her team-best fourth assist of the campaign.

“The goal came from a set piece that we’ve been working on all week. It’s great to see our hard work in training paying off for us in the games,” Baucom said following the match. “Natalia’s serves on our set pieces this year have really been on point all season, and she put a great ball in. I just had to make sure to get a head on it and put it on target.”

After taking a one-goal advantage into the break, the Tigers conceded the equalizer just five minutes into the second half on Ball State’s only corner kick of the match. Leah Mattingly curled a cross into the penalty box from the left corner flag, and Musleh fired home a thumping header from the top of the six-yard box to draw the visitors level at 1-1 in the 50th minute of the second half.

Despite conceding the tying goal, the Tigers were outstanding in defense once again as they limited the Cardinals to just three shots on target on eight shot attempts in the match with just one corner kick on the night. They also held the Minnesota Golden Gophers without a shot on goal in four shot attempts in 90 minutes during their last outing in a 1-0 home victory last Sunday afternoon at the “Battle on the Bayou.”

The Tigers matched the Cardinals with eight shot attempts on the night, including two shots on goal, while also leading the way with a pair of corner kicks taken in 110 minutes of action in Baton Rouge.

With LSU’s “Stomp in the Swamp” now off and running this weekend, the Tigers will return to action on Sunday afternoon when they play host to the visiting Indiana Hoosiers in the tournament finale that is set to kick off at 1 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+. Sunday’s match marks LSU’s debut on the SEC Network’s digital platform in the 2015 season as fans can watch the Tigers in action online at http://www.ESPN3.com or by using the WatchESPN app available on most smartphones and tablet devices.

Sunday’s finale at the “Stomp in the Swamp” also features a match between Ball State and Middle Tennessee State that is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. CT. The Tigers are excited to bring back their popular “Pooch at the Pitch” promotion as fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game and receive a free LSU Soccer doggie bandana they can wear.