Dominant ball control, relentless defense and the sure hands of goalkeeper Mollee Swift gave the 17th ranked and unbeaten LSU soccer team its fifth straight win to open the 2021 season as the Tigers recorded a 2-0 win at Arizona Thursday aftrernoon.
LSU controlled the ball for 71 percent of the match. The Tigers outshot the Wildcats 22-6 with LSU registering seven shots on goal compared to Arizona’s four, which were stopped by Swift in the 19th minute, the 47th, the 66th and the 85th of the match.
“One of our goals this year was to defend with our lives,” Swift said. “It’s been a team effort and they’ve made it pretty easy on me. It’s a huge accomplishment looking at how far we’ve grown, but it’s even more motivation to keep proving ourselves time and time again.”
The Tigers got their goals from Maddie Moreau in the 11th minute and Athena Kuehn in the 29th minute.
“Feels great to bounce from the East Coast time zone (where LSU won matches in Florida last Thursday and Sunday vs. USF and UCF) over here to Mountain (time), from a wet heat to a dry heat and keep our rhythm and keep our tempo in possessions,” LSU head coach Sian Hudson said. “Across the board really pleased with the performance overall. Maybe the only disappointing thing is we didn’t score more.”
LSU’s first offensive breakthrough came in the 11th minute as Moreau carried the ball into the box before cutting inside on her left foot and lifting the ball past the goalkeeper and into the top left corner to give LSU the 1-0 lead. The goal was Moreau’s second of the season, and second in her last three games.
The second goal of the match came as the Tigers’ high pressure defense was rewarded.
Kuehn pressed the Wildcat center back and blocked her attempted clearance. The ball fell to Alesia Garcia in the box, who played a pass to Kuehn that ended with Kuehn placing her shot between the goalkeeper’s feet and into the back of the net. The goal was the second of the season for Kuehn, as well as Garcia’s second assist of the year.
LSU closes its two-game Arizona road trip on Sunday afternoon at 4 CT when it travels to Tempe to plays at No. 21 Arizona State in the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
“Across the board, confidence is really high,” Hudson said. “We’re using a lot of different players and it gives us the ability to make sure we’re pretty fresh going into Sunday games. Whatever team is on the field at the moment, they’re getting it done.
“I look at this group at the moment and they want more. They are really hungry.”