Boosted by a No. 7 recruiting class as ranked by soccer recruiting service TopDrawerSoccer.com, the LSU soccer team enters 2014 with young talented squad that hopes to make it to the postseason play for the first time since 2011.
In 2013, the Tigers started their Southeastern Conference schedule 5-0-1. However, they finished their conference schedule on a six-game slide, including a loss to Auburn in the first round of the SEC tournament.
“It is group that really addresses our needs,” said LSU coach Brian Lee. “We needed another proven goal scorer to go up top with Summer [Clarke] and take a little pressure off her. We needed some height to become better in the air.”
Forward Summer Clarke had a breakout freshman year in 2013, leading the Tigers with 10 goals. Clarke’s best outing came in the form of a hat trick against Arkansas.
Freshman striker Jorian Baucom, who was regarded as the top striker recruit in the nation by Brian Lee, scored her first collegiate goal within the first minute of the 2014 season opener against Troy.
Baucom’s ability to find the net will force defenders to mark both forwards, allowing Clarke and Baucom work together find gaps in defenses and attack the net.
LSU’s midfield will feature veterans sophomore Emma Fletcher, senior Alex Arlitt and junior Fernanda Pina. The addition of junior Natalia Gomez-Junco, a transfer from the University of Memphis, adds depth and another attacking threat to the midfield. In the season opener against Troy, she scored the second goal from distance.
Fletcher led the SEC with .60 assists per game and ranked eleventh in the nation with 12 total assists.
“Emma Fletcher and Summer Clarke are proven top-notch attacking players and we think Jorian and Natalia can do the same,” Lee said. “Fernanda, I thought, had a great preseason camp and she keeps getting better every year with us, so she can chip in as well.
Defensively, the Tigers return Second-Team All-SEC sophomore Megan Lee, who represented New Zealand in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer.
LSU adds height to the defensive line with freshmen Jordane Carvery, Ella Williams and Alexis Urch. Carvery represented the host nation Canada in the U-20 Women’s World Cup this summer.
Freshman keeper Lily Alfeld replaces Megan Kinneman, who started all four years of her career and holds the school record for saves with 284. Alfeld also participated in the U-20 Women’s World Cup representing New Zealand.