After suffering its first defeat of the season Sunday against Rice, the LSU soccer team rebounded with a 3-0 win against Nicholls State on Tuesday night.
The Tigers’ offense looked dynamic with more combination passing, which was a focus for LSU coach Brian Lee in the team’s preparation.
“For the first time this fall, I thought we started getting the pass-and-move idea,” Lee said. “And trusting each other and playing more attractive soccer.”
From the beginning, the Nicholls’ defensive line played high up the field to catch the Tigers’ forwards offsides. This strategy seemed to work in the first half, which included six offsides calls against the Tigers.
“I thought [the forwards] did okay,” Lee said. “We want to be close to the line. We want to be offsides, but the most concerning [calls] are when it is the widest player who can see all the way across the line. We’ve just got to be paying attention.”
Offensively, LSU continues to find different ways to score. All three goals scored Tuesday were assisted by at least one Tiger.
In the eighth minute, junior midfielder Fernanda Piña put LSU on the board with a one-touch shot off a cross by sophomore forward Summer Clarke. Although Piña has recorded two assists in 2014, this goal marked her first score this season.
Clarke extended the Tigers’ lead to two goals in the 19th minute. After junior midfielder Natalia Gomez-Junco’s free kick bounced off of the crossbar, Clarke headed in her third goal, which is tied for the most on the team in 2014.
“That was a great goal,” Clarke said. “I don’t score many headers, so for me, that was fun.”
Gomez-Junco was close to scoring on free kicks all night, yet she wasn’t able to put one in the back of the net like she did against Northwestern `State.
“Yeah, I was close,” Gomez-Junco said. “It was one of those days that the ball just refused to get in the goal. It happens, and I’m just glad that we won 3-0.”
Freshman forward Jorian Baucom capped off the Tigers’ night with the third goal in the 29th minute. Set up by a header from freshman midfielder Christyna Pitre, Baucom cut around the keeper to snake a strike into the back of the net, her third of the season.
The development of the offense was clear in the way the Tigers communicated and moved with each other.
“I think one of our goals was to take less touches on the ball and just take one or two touches and try to find someone’s feet,” Clarke said. “I think we were doing that a lot better this game.”
Despite putting only one shot on frame against Rice, the Tigers managed 10 shots on goal, forcing Nicholls’ sophomore keeper Taylor Mosley to work all night.
Although LSU did not score in the second half, the Tigers threatened the net throughout the last 45 with 11 shots.