LSU Soccer Falls to No. 6 Seed Memphis In Round One Of NCAA Tournament, 2-1
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The LSU Soccer team (8-8-4) fell to the No. 6 seeded Memphis Tigers (19-1-0) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night at Billy J. Murphy Soccer Complex.
LSU was led on the night by Ava Galligan, Mollie Baker and goalkeeper Bailey Herfurth. Galligan recorded her fourth career goal in the Tiger’s lone goal of the match, while Baker notched the assist. Herfurth finished the match with four saves in an impressive first career appearance in the Purple & Gold.
“While ending the season is always disappointing, I’m just proud of the team for fighting until the death. Obviously it was difficult to go down two-nil early in the game, but I thought that we steadied ourselves and had some good moments later in the game,” said head coach Sian Hudson.
“All credit to Bailey Herfurth in her first start for the Tigers. She had some unbelievable moments and some big saves for us. Mollie Baker had a great turn to drive past the defense and give a fantastic pass to Ava Galligan for the goal.”
Memphis opened the game in quickfire fashion as they scored the first goal of the game just minutes into the match. Memphis’s Soarla Miller played a ground pass into the box that escaped the reach of a few LSU defenders and found the foot of Mya Jones, who made no mistake with her finish to put Memphis up 1-0. Finley Lavin provided the assist on the goal.
Only twenty seconds later, Memphis doubled their advantage via a shot from Momo Nakao, who rifled the ball into the top right corner of the net to make the score 2-0 in favor of the home Tigers.
Baker provided the first shot on target in the first half for LSU. The forward found space in the midfield, dribbled through the Memphis defense and unleashed a shot from long range that required a great save from Memphis keeper Kaylie Bierman to keep the distanced strike out of the net.
LSU couldn’t find a scoring chance in the first 45 minutes as the first half ended with a 2-0 Memphis lead.
The Purple & Gold Tigers continued to press for a goal early in the second half, but Memphis continued to hold their ground as LSU looked for ways to break their defense.
After weathering the storm for more than half the game, LSU found a breakthrough in the 70th minute via a clutch goal from freshman forward Ava Galligan. Galligan received the ball just in front of the goal on a beautiful pass from Mollie Baker, who took the ball past multiple Memphis defenders and found the feet of Galligan. Galligan subtly slotted the ball home past the Memphis keeper to reduce the deficit to one goal.
LSU spent the last 20 minutes of the match pressuring Memphis in an attempt to find the equalizer, but the Tigers couldn’t find the right opportunity. Herfurth had a last-second chance for the visiting Tigers in the last kick of the game as the keeper sent a long ball into the box, but found no LSU player to make something out of it and that was the end of regulation.
LSU fought until the very end, but ultimately came up short in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to be eliminated. While this is the end of the road for the Tigers, the program is excited for what’s to come as LSU continues to reach new heights every year.