LSU soccer must await possible NCAA tourney invite following SEC quarterfinals loss to No. 1 seed Arkansas

LSU midfielder Athena Kuehn (12) is draped by four Arkansas players during Tuesday's quarterfinal match in the SEC tournament which the Razorbacks won, 2-1. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics.

The eventual fate of LSU’s soccer team will be in the hands of the NCAA tournament selection committee.

The ninth-seeded Tigers bowed out of the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals Tuesday, dropping a 2-1 decision to top-seeded Arkansas, leaving the team hopeful of receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA tourney.

The NCAA’s will unveil its 64-team selection show next Monday at 3:30 p.m.

LSU (11-7-1) went into its quarterfinal match with an RPI of 41, a number that should improve after having played the fourth-ranked Razorbacks (15-3) who have the nation’s No. 4 RPI.

The Tigers also have wins over four ranked teams, including a 4-2 decision over the Razorbacks last Thursday that concluded the regular season.

“Overall, it’s been a great season for us,” LSU soccer coach Sian Hudson said. “I think we’ve done enough to get in the national tournament. You’ll never know until selection day, but we’ve accomplished some big things this season. We’ll get back to Baton Rouge and prepare like we have more games ahead of us.”

Arkansas scored a goal in each half and relied an aggressive defense that made life hard on an LSU offense that avoided a shutout in the 90th minute on Shannon Cooke’s header.

First team All-SEC selection Anna Podojil scored both of Arkansas’ goals, the first taking place in the 18th minute when she got by Cooke at the top of the 18 and sent a shot into the center of the goal past LSU goalkeeper Mollee Swift.

Arkansas’ high pressure defense limited LSU without a shot on goal until the 77th minute.

The Tigers had several close chances to tie the match at 1-all with Maddie Moreau leading a counter attack that produced a three-on-two matchup where Arkansas’ goalkeeper Hannah Warner came off her line for a save. It resulted in a corner kick and a subsequent header that went over the crossbar in the 27th minute.

Athena Kuehn began a nice run for LSU where Wasila Diwura-Soale delivered a pass from the top of the 18 for Taylor Dobles, but Warner came off her mark to collect the ball and took an inadvertent kick to the face from Dobles, who was in the midst of trying to avoid her.

Warner remained in the game and came off her line again in the 55th minute to stop of a driving Rammie Noel up the left side after Moreau’s steal and pass.

Arkansas, which outshot LSU 15-7 (4-3 in shots on goal), made it 2-0 in the 61st minute when a corner kick was headed by Reagan Swindall at the feet of Podojil, who was shielding Swift in front of the mouth of the goal.

Podojil, with her back to the goal, back-heeled the loose ball past an unsuspecting Swift, who wound up with two saves.

Chiara Ritchie-Williams picked up LSU’s first shot on goal in the 77th minute with a shot from distance that Warner saved until the Tigers finally broke through near the end of the game.

Swift, taking a free kick from midfield, found Tinaya Alexander, who sped past a defender on the right side of the field and her cross into the box found Cooke on a direct run for a header.

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William Weathers

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