After getting two of its best shots down the stretch in regulation, only to be turned away both times, LSU’s soccer team had to deal with a similar sinking fate in overtime.
Three minutes into the extra session, the Tigers had to lament what might have been.
No. 15 Auburn, playing the final 24 minutes of regulation with a one-player advantage, deposited a wide-open rebound from just outside the mouth of the goal in the 93rd minute for a hard-fought 1-0 SEC victory Monday at LSU’s soccer stadium.
“It’s disappointing because I think the girls are fighting and giving it 100 percent each game,” LSU soccer coach Sian Hudson said. “We certainly had a more spirited performance than we did on Friday (2-0 loss to Vanderbilt). We can’t seem to catch a break.”
It was third time this season LSU (0-5-2) went into overtime, previously finishing in a draw with both Missouri and Alabama.
LSU concluded the home portion of its season. The Tigers finish the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Texas A&M before heading to the SEC Tournament (Nov. 13-22) in Orange Beach, Ala.
Auburn’s Alyssa Malonson won a ball at midfield in overtime, dribbled up the left flank and got past LSU right back Rammie Noel.
Malonson pushed the ball into the six-yard box where she was met by LSU goalie Mollee Swift who repelled a shot attempt.
However, the ball caromed through the box to a wide-open Kori Locksley who scored from the right side of the goal to end the match with the golden goal.
“It’s just a disappointing goal to concede after such a fight,” Hudson said.
Auburn (3-1-2), which extended its series lead over LSU 19-8-3, finished with seven shots, including five on goal against Swift who tallied two saves.
LSU countered with four shots with three of those on goal, including two by Baton Rouge native Meghan Johnson of St. Joseph’s Academy.
Two of those opportunities came in the final seven minutes of regulation.
Tinaya Alexander took a pass from Taylor Robles, got around an Auburn defender and fired a shot from between the boxes but straight to goalie Maddie Prohaska in the 82nd minute.
The Tigers’ final chance in regulation began with a punt from Swift that carried over midfield and bounced perfectly to midfielder Chiara Ritchie-Williams. She then passed to Johnson on the right flank and after getting around a defender, tried to chip a shot from the box, but Prohaska came off her line and made her third save of the half.
“Ironically, I thought we created some of our best opportunities when we played with 10,” Hudson said.
LSU, which was shutout for the fourth time this season, found itself having to play down a player at the 66th minute when junior defender Shannon Cooke was sent off after picking up consecutive yellow cards, the first for a foul and second for dissent.
By conference rule, Cooke will have to sit out Friday’s match against Texas A&M.
“I felt the referee had a tough game,” Hudson said. “Not that I disagree with the initial yellow card, but I felt like he lost control at times and frustration was boiling over. I think he could have had a conversation with my player rather than dishing out a second yellow immediately after the first to calm the emotion down.”
Auburn never seriously threatened to score, though, with Swift picking up a save, and the visiting Tigers came up empty on a pair of corner kicks in the final four minutes of regulation.
Swift was active during the early stages of the first half when Auburn had three of its five corner kicks. Swift cleared one out and saved another on a cross 15 minutes into the match.
LSU center back Miya Gordon provided her team’s first scoring opportunity but her attempt from 25 feet out sailed to the right of the goal at the 21st minute.
Cooke provided her team with a solid defensive moment that potentially saved a goal when an LSU foul – one of 12 in the opening half – led to a free kick which Auburn’s Sydney Richards settled and with Swift off her mark, Cooke dropped into the box to deflect a shot away with her right leg at the 27-minute mark.
“It’s disappointing because there’s been three games this season where the result could have gone our way,” Hudson said, “but ultimately we’re not creating enough clear-cut scoring opportunities to win games.”