Soccer Drops 2019 Opener to Villanova
Philadelphia, Pa.. – The LSU soccer team dropped its 2019 season opener on the road to Villanova by a tally of 1-0 at Higgins Soccer Complex on Thursday afternoon.
Villanova’s Chloe O’Neill got in behind LSU’s backline in the 27th minute for the gamewinner from the left side of the box about 12 yards out; she was assisted on the goal by Brice Mcinroy.
The Tigers had a handful of opportunities in the first half and the best chance for a goal came in the 44th minute. It all started when sophomore Reese Moffatt played a deep ball in to Meghan Johnson down the right side of the pitch. Johnson secured possession and made a move past her defender and entered the box. Keeping her defender on her hip, Johnson sent in a ground cross that found the foot of Hannah Cuneo, who was making her LSU debut. Cuneo touched it quickly and her shot from eight yards out was saved by Villanova’s Hensley Hancuff.
LSU kept the pressure on and earned a free kick just outside the left side of the box a minute later. Tinaya Alexander took the attempt and her play in the six was corralled by the Nova keeper. Shannon Cooke had the first shot on goal of the match from about 20 yards out, and Maddie Moreau played a part in Alexander’s other shot on net that came in the first half. Starting from her position at leftback, Moreau possessed the ball on LSU’s side of the pitch before taking it all the way down into Nova’s box; she drew two defenders and after a little bit of a loose ball scenario, Alexander ended up with the ball just outside the left side of the box and her attempt was saved by Nova’s diving keeper again.
Emma Grace Goldman made 10 saves in her first collegiate start in net. She balanced it out with five in the first half and five in the second half. Goldman was tested twice in the early parts of the second half and she came up big to keep LSU’s deficit at one. The first ball was a ground cross in front of the six in the 48th minute that she came out and smothered before it could get through to a Villanova attacker on the other side. She came back and made another stellar play on a ball that was headed by Villanova’s Kristin Barbour from six yards in the 55th minute.
LSU’s best opportunity to score in the second half came after a nice passing display from the Tigers in the 77th minute. Shannon Cooke started it with a diagonal ball to Jade Clarke who played a game of give and go with Tiana Caffey. Caffey’s touch sent Clarke in behind Villanova’s backline and her ground cross into the boxed was deflected by a Villanova defender resulting in LSU’s first and only corner of the match. LSU played the corner out to Cooke who was about 30 yards away on the left side of the pitch and her service into the six was pulled down by Villanova’s Hancuff.
LSU’s one-goal deficit was preserved by Chiara Ritchie-Williams with less than two minutes to play. A ground cross from Villanova resulted in a shot from Niki Molina that initially made it past Goldman and looked destined for the net, but that’s where Ritchie-Williams came in at. She made a beautiful sliding save and cleared the ball of danger to keep the Tigers in the match.
- LSU moved to 18-7-0 all-time in season openers and that includes a record of 4-2-0 in true season-opening road matches
- Emma Grace Goldman, Rammie Noel (66 minutes) and Maddie Moreau all earned their first career starts on Thursday afternoon
- Moreau and Chiara Ritchie-Williams played the full 90 for LSU
- Anna Rockett (24 minutes), Maddison Martin (nine minutes), Hannah Cuneo (six minutes) and Makenzie Maher (19 minutes) all made their LSU debuts on Thursday
LSU will travel to take on Navy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT. The match will take place at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.