MALIBU, California — LSU soccer (1-0-1) will face No. 14 Pepperdine (2-0-0) for their first road match of the season on Thursday, August 25 at 5 p.m. CT at Tari Frahm Rokus Field in Malibu, California.
Thursday night marks only the second time that the Tigers and Waves will meet. The first and only game came in 2011 at the LSU Soccer Stadium, where the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw.
Ranked Wins – LSU History
LSU has won 18 and drawn 11 matches against nationally-ranked opponents in its history. LSU has played 10 ranked matches under Sian Hudson and have been competitive in all 10.
These matches include five wins versus No. 14 Ole Miss, No. 15 USF, No. 19 UCF, No. 21 Arizona State, and No. 4 Arkansas.
Included in those are two one-goal losses to No. 8 Texas A&M in the fall of 2020, a one-goal loss to Arkansas at the 2021 SEC Tournament, and two overtime losses to ranked Auburn teams.
LSU’s last draw against a ranked opponent came on Sept. 19, 2018, versus No. 9 Auburn in Baton Rouge.
The Baker Special
Mollie Baker, a redshirt-sophomore forward that transferred to LSU from North Carolina, opened her goalscoring account with the Tigers on opening weekend and enters Thursday’s match on a two-game scoring streak.
Baker found the back of the net in the season opener versus Stephen F. Austin by getting on the end of a ground-cross and placing the ball into the back of the net from five yards out. The goal was the first of her collegiate career.
In the second game of the season against UCF, Baker once again found herself on the scoresheet and it came at a vital point in the game.
LSU trailed the Knights 1-0 in the first half, but came out of halftime energized. Just one minute into the second half, Baker received the ball and nutmegged a defender before bursting into the box and slotting a 16-yard shot past the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1 on the day.
The match finished in a 1-1 draw, with Baker’s goal being the difference between a draw and defeat for the Tigers.
Freshman Ida Hermannsdottir enters Thursday’s match against Pepperdine on a two-game assisting streak and currently leads the Tigers in the assists category.
Hermannsdottir’s first collegiate assist came on her debut against Stephen F. Austin as she picked out forward Angelina Thoreson on the edge of the 18-yard box with an accurate pass. Thoreson charged into the box and sent a ball across the face of goal that found forward Mollie Baker, who tapped it into the back of the net.
In LSU’s 1-1 draw with UCF on Sunday, Hermannsdottir assisted LSU’s lone goal of the match as she laid the ball off to Baker, who slid by a defender and placed the ball into the back of the net from 16-yards out.
Hermannsdottir hails from Iceland and brings a wealth of international experience to the squad. She has represented her country on all levels of play, including two appearances for the senior international team.
Before joining the Tigers, she played at the highest level of soccer in Iceland for Valur Reykjavik. At the club, she helped them claim the 2021 league title and also made appearances in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the most competitive competition of club soccer in Europe.
The Tiger defense has only conceded one goal through two matches of play and are yet to concede in open play. In the first two games of the season, the four defensive starters consisted of some of LSU’s most experienced players.
5th-year seniors Shannon Cooke and Lindsi Jennings paired as the center backs, while seniors Maya Gordon and Rammie Noel slotted in as the right back and left back, respectively.
The seniors were not the only players to contribute to the early success. Freshmen Jocelyn Ollivierre, Kelci Bowers, and Laney Gonzales all logged major minutes in both games and will continue to play a role in the Tigers’ defensive plans moving forward.
Unbeaten Opening Weekend
The Tigers opened the 2022 season last Thursday, August 18, with a 5-0 win over Stephen F. Austin. The five goal win was the largest opening game win for LSU since 2017, when they defeated Mississippi Valley State by the same scoreline.
Forward Taylor Dobles scored the second brace of her career as she opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a dipping shot from 12 yards out. The redshirt junior concluded the night by slotting home a rebound in the 77th minute. The brace snaps a goal drought for Dobles, who last scored in the 2020 SEC Tournament against Alabama, where her two goals were vital in a 2-0 win.
Mollie Baker, Sage Glover, and Jordan Johnson accounted for the other three goals in the season opener with one each.
LSU turned around three days later and hosted the UCF Knights in a Sunday afternoon showdown on August 21.
UCF struck first in the 30th minute from a direct free-kick. Mollie Baker reacted shortly after halftime with her second goal of the season. Baker received the ball in the final-third and nutmegged a defender before bursting into the box and slotting a 16-yard shot past the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1 on the day.
Neither team could find the go-ahead goal and the match finished an even 1-1 after 90 minutes of back-and-forth play.
LSU is captained by the defensive duo of fifth-year seniors Shannon Cooke and Lindsi Jennings. The return of Cooke and Jennings brings a wealth of defensive experience to the lineup as the two prepare for their final season in collegiate soccer.
Cooke has been a mainstay in the LSU squad since arriving on campus in 2018 and enters the season with 73 appearances for the Tigers, including 65 starts during that time. The senior started at center back for all 18 appearances in the 2021 season.
Jennings enters her second season in Purple & Gold after spending the first three years of her collegiate career at Northern Colorado, where she made 51 appearances and received All-Big Sky honors all three years of playing. She’ll look to build on a successful first year as a Tiger, where appeared in all 20 matches and started in 12 of those.
The 2022 roster features 32 athletes, 11 of which are newcomers. Five countries are represented in the squad (United States, England, Ghana, Iceland, and Sweden).
Returning to the lineup are seniors Maya Gordon and Rammie Noel. The two registered over 1,000 minutes across last season and will look to lead this year’s team from the backline along with Cooke and Jennings.
Senior goalkeeper Mollee Swift returns for her third season between the posts in purple and gold.
The 2021 season was the best yet for Swift, who started all 20 games for the Tigers and finished the year with eight shutouts and a Goals Allowed Average of 1.25 per 90 minutes. Her 81 saves on the year ranked her 3rd in the SEC and she earned the first national honors of her career as she was named Top Drawer Soccer’s National Player of the Week and United College Soccer Coaches National Player of the Week on August 31 and September 1 respectively for helping the Tigers secure road wins at No.15 USF and No. 19 UCF.
Continuing to Build
LSU will look to continue building under head coach Sian Hudson, who enters her third season at the helm.
The 2021 Tigers hit new highs under Hudson that included the highest national ranking in program history (No. 5), highest ranked win in program history (4-2 victory vs. No. 4 Arkansas on Oct. 28), and the highest single game attendance at the LSU Soccer Stadium (3,021 people vs. Mississippi State on September 17).
The Tigers finished the season 11-8-1 and earned the program’s seventh berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they were defeated by a score of 3-0 at Memphis in the first round.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)