Auburn Upsets LSU in Opener, 3-0
Nov. 2, 2011
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - No. 7 seed Auburn Tigers upset the second-seeded LSU Tigers 3-0 on day one of the 2011 SEC Soccer Championship.
With the win, Auburn (12-6-2) advances to face the winner of Kentucky and Tennessee on Friday night at 5 p.m.
Auburn used a combination of tight defense and timely scoring to pick up its second win over LSU in 2011. The Tigers previously knocked off Louisiana State on October 14, 3-1, in Auburn.
"LSU is a great team," head coach Karen Hoppa said. "Great teams bring out the best in our team. We've seen that all year. We had a tremendous effort today - maybe our best of the year. LSU is so dangerous in their attack. Credit goes to Amy Howard in goal with the shutout. It was just a tremendous effort for our defense, which allowed our offense to be successful. You keep a shutout on the board, and it gives your offense confidence."
Howard, a Louisiana native, was outstanding in goal all afternoon for the Tigers. She finished the match with seven saves and the clean sheet. It was her fourth shutout of the season and 14th of her career.
Despite being out-shot by LSU (13-7-1) in the first half, Auburn took a 1-0 lead into the break on the back of a headed goal by freshman Tatiana Coleman. The Boca Raton, Fla.-native headed home a volley by senior defender Heather Havron in the 30th minute to give Auburn the first half advantage.
"I'm not a big fan of using my head, but Heather served a great ball," Coleman said. "I knew nobody was behind me, so I just kind of tipped it over and saw it go in the corner [of the net]."
The goal was her seventh of the season. Wednesday's game was the first for the freshman since October 16. She had missed the previous three due to injury.
Howard was busy in the first half. The junior recorded four saves, including two off the foot of her counterpart from LSU, Mo Isom. On two occasions, the LSU Tigers lined their keeper up for free kicks from near midfield and Isom drove toward the goal. Howard made stops on both chances.
Auburn controlled much of the first half possession and as a result picked up three corner kicks before the half. The squad totaled four corners on the day.
LSU came out determined in the second half with multiple early chances, but in the 30th minute Auburn turned one of those chances around and into a second goal. Julie King's strike was deflected by an LSU defender and into the side netting for an own goal and a 2-0 lead for the Tigers.
With 13 minutes left, LSU had a solid scoring chance with multiple players in the box, but Howard again stone-walled the attempt and covered up the loose ball before clearing it away.
Auburn's Katy Frierson had her best scoring opportunity on a PK chance late in the game, but the shot was saved by Isom and the senior from Homewood, Ala. was denied the school's all-time points record for another game. The penalty kick was awarded after King was pulled down on a breakaway, empty-net situation. LSU's Alex Ramsey was awarded a straight red card by the lead official and sent off.
Despite being stopped in the penalty situation, the Auburn Tigers were able to stretch their lead to 3-0 with 2:22 to go on a breakaway goal by Maddie Barnes. The goal was the second of the year for the sophomore from Woodward, Georgia. The assist was credited to Lydia Townsend (1).
Despite the trio of goals, it was Auburn's defense that told the story on Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers weathered 16 shots by LSU to pick up the team's seventh overall shutout of the year.
"Our priority all week was defense," Howard said. "We had two great practices this week. I think our defense played really well, and LSU did get a couple of shots off, but we cleaned it up. I made some saves, but then again our defense backed me up and made some saves for me on the line. It was an all-around great effort for the team."
The win is just the second in SEC Championship play for Auburn since 2005. The Tigers are 8-14-2 all-time in SEC tournament play.
Auburn now must wait for an opponent. The Tigers will face the winner of the Tennessee/Kentucky match-up on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. CT.
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