Productive second half keeps LSU soccer unbeaten with 3-1 win over USM

Fifth-year senior Alesia Garcia kick-started a successful second half with a goal and LSU maintained its unbeaten stretch six matches into the 2022 season Sunday with a 3-1 victory at Southern Mississippi.

“I’m really pleased with the performance,” LSU soccer coach Sian Hudson said in a university release. “All credit to Southern Miss, they made it difficult on the day with their defensive structure in the first half and it was difficult to break down.

“I’m pleased with the response in the second half. It was a great goal by Alesia Garcia to get us started on the scoresheet, followed by a great finish by Brenna McPartlan for her first goal in LSU’s colors, and finally what a finish it was from Olivia Wilkes for her first goal of the season.”

The Tigers (4-0-2) were locked in a scoreless battle at halftime when Garcia scored on a shot from just outside the 18 in the 52nd minute. The forward took a couple of a touches and found just enough space between her and the USM defender to beat goalkeeper Alex Helbing for the score.

LSU surrendered a goal in the 54th minute but quickly recaptured the lead and momentum for a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.

Freshman Ida Hermannsdottir went short with her corner, connecting on a pass to Lindsi Jennings atop the 18. Jennings then chipped a pass inside the 6-yard box to fifth-year senior Brenna McPartlan, who headed the ball into the right corner of the goal.

The Tigers put the game out of reach in the 70th minute when right back Maya Gordon brought the ball up the right side and crossed the ball into the box. She found a wide-open fifth-year senior Tillie Wilkes who took the ball out of air with her left foot and deposited it past Helbing and into the right-side netting.

LSU outshot USM 17-5 overall, including 10-3 in shots on target. Senior goalkeeper Mollee Swift had two saves.

The Tigers face a two-game road swing Thursday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. to Princeton at 6 p.m. and Rutgers, respectively.

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