September 16, 2017
Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
BATON ROUGE – Following a 1-0 win over No. 19-ranked Cincinnati on Thursday night, the LSU Soccer team will make its SEC Network debut on Sunday afternoon when it plays host to the Vanderbilt Commodores in its Southeastern Conference opener that is set to kick off at 4 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (7-0) matched their best ever start to a season with their win over the Bearcats and remained one of only six perfect teams in NCAA Division I soccer heading into Sunday’s home match.
LSU will feature on the SEC Network for the first time this season as fans can also watch the match on the SEC Network+ on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app available on all smartphone and tablet devices.
Fans can also follow all the action from each match during the 2017 season by following @LSUSoccer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsusoccer and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsusoccer and by liking LSU Soccer on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lsusoccer. LSU will also provide live stats of the match at http://lsu.statbroadcast.com.
Sunday is Girl Scouts Day at the LSU Soccer Stadium as all Girl Scouts Louisiana East members ages 5-12 are invited to participate in a halftime event during the contest. Girl Scouts in attendance must register in advance at http://LSUsports.net/girlscouts. Free LSU Soccer key chains will also be handed out at the gate to fans attending the match.
The Commodores (5-3) arrive in Baton Rouge well-rested and with momentum on their side following a weekend sweep with a 1-0 win at Western Kentucky on Sept. 8 followed by a 3-1 win over Lipscomb last Sunday. Senior All-SEC striker Simone Charley and sophomore defender Jackie Welch lead the Vanderbilt attack with a team-best two goals apiece this season.
Defender Olivia Simmons is also the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring the winner at Western Kentucky in her first start of the season and providing two assists against Lipscomb last weekend.
The Tigers hope to avenge their 3-0 defeat in Nashville a year ago while also picking up their first win in the series since a 2-1 extra time win at Vanderbilt on Sept. 21, 2013. While trailing 7-10-3 in 20 previous matches in the series, LSU owns a 6-4-2 mark since head coach Brian Lee took over the program in 2005.
Junior forward Alex Thomas wore her scoring boots against 19th-ranked Cincinnati on Thursday night as her breakthrough in the 44th minute proved to be the match-winner in LSU’s first win this season over a nationally ranked opponent. Thomas is now tied with senior forward Zoe Higgins as the team’s top goal scorer this season as she found the net for the fourth time in her six starts in 2017.
Freshman Tinaya Alexander has also proven to be one of the top attacking talents in college soccer with her performance early in the season as she follows with three goals heading into SEC play. Alexander also dished out seven assists in her first seven appearances to rank No. 1 in the SEC and No. 2 in the NCAA for the 2017 season.
In fact, Alexander tied LSU’s school-record streak with an assist in her seventh-straight game when she set up Thomas’ opener against Cincinnati. Former All-SEC midfielder Natalie Martineau was the last Tiger to assist in seven-straight matches during her senior season in 2011.
After playing host to Vanderbilt in their SEC opener on Sunday afternoon, the Tigers will be back on the road next week with a trip to Tuscaloosa where they face 19th-ranked Alabama in a match scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT on the SEC Network+. LSU then returns home to battle Mississippi State on Sunday, Sept. 24, with kickoff set for 3 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Stadium.