On Sunday afternoon in Memphis, Tenn., the LSU soccer team’s year came to an end. They were knocked out of the first round of the NCAA tournament by No. 18 Memphis in a shutout match. The Tigers’ record moved to 11-8-1 while Memphis progressed to 14-4-2.
The most devastating part of the match was undoubtedly the Tigers’ fight throughout the match before being blown out 3-0. The two Tiger teams kept a 0-0 score all the way up until the 50th minute. LSU seemed to lose their stride in that moment as they allowed Memphis to double the lead in the 74th minute followed by a third goal just four minutes afterward.
As always, Head Coach Sian Hudson kept a calm stature as she pushed her focus toward what stood in the future.
“Definitely a tough one for us today,” Hudson said. “But I think as we reflect on this year as a whole we had a lot of really big moments."
LSU came into the match with high energy, putting pressure on Memphis the moment they hit the field. Wasila Diwura-Soale shot an on-target attempt by the ninth minute. Midfielder Meghan Johnson gave LSU the closest chance at a goal when she sent a header towards the net. However, the shot was narrowly deflected by goalkeeper Elizabeth Moberg.
LSU’s Mollee Swift stayed on par for the entire first half and made two saves herself. Between Memphis’s offense and LSU’s lack of ball control by the second half though, Swift was struggling to keep up. That’s when Memphis made their attack and scored three goals in less than 30 minutes. Swift actually made saves in the second half with a total of three but was exhausted by the Memphis front, who shot 19 times overall. The purple and gold had a 60% shot percentage, but only shot a mere five times in comparison.
In the face of such a crushing blow to end their season, the team wants to remember all of the high points they experienced this season. To name a couple, the team held a 14-game winning streak and later defeated No. 1 Arkansas, which was arguably the biggest upset in the program’s history.
“We’ve been able to take this program to a different level this year,” Hudson said. “Our 10 graduating seniors have laid a strong foundation with this program and I thank them for that. For us moving forward, it’s about building on what we did this year.”
Fans were more disappointed to see the team’s seniors last official time in action than the defeat itself though. This was the last fall game for some of the Tigers’ top players, a majority of whom were on the 2018 SEC Champions team.
The defeat marked the end of an outstanding season full of record-breaking moments for LSU soccer. On the bright side, fans should be excited to see what LSU can bring to the table in the spring season as the seniors gradually pass the torch to the remaining Tigers who’ll take the reins in the 2022 year.