LSU soccer’s senior class, one of the most decorated in school history, came into Senior Night at the LSU Soccer Stadium in a four-way tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference.
Ninety minutes later, LSU’s status as SEC leader was over at the hands of South Carolina in a 4-1 loss.
The Gamecocks (13-5, 7-2) finished the night alone with Florida atop the league.
LSU (11-6-1, 6-3) took the lead midway through the first half on Taryne Boudreau’s team-leading 10th goal of the year, but two goals by Ariane Lukens, along with goals by Ellen Fahey, and Lolly Holland saw USC through to the win. The goals by Lukens and Fahey, all off set pieces, were their first of the season.
“It started the way I envisioned it,” LSU coach Brian Lee said. “We felt like we had the game in hand at 1-0. A lack of tactical awareness led to the corner kick and their first goal. They’re really good on set pieces.”
LSU took the lead in the 18th minute when Boudreau nailed a free kick from 20 yards out that arced around the South Carolina defense into the top far corner of the goal. The strike was set up when Holland brought Boudreau’s fellow Canadian national Allysha Chapman down as Chapman attempted to burst into the penalty area with the ball at her feet.
With 11 minutes left in the half, the Gamecocks came close to tying the match when Kayla Grimsley slipped the ball past the diving arms of LSU goalkeeper Mo Isom, but Reyna Lubin came to the rescue and cleared the ball off the line. LSU’s reprieve was short-lived, as Grimsley lofted the ensuing corner into the penalty area where Lukens was able to head it home for her first goal of the year.
Lukens picked up her second goal of the game - and season - in the 50th minute, heading home an Andie Romness corner at the far post.
Carlie Banks managed to get a shot goalward from deep in the penalty area as the clock ticked below 29 minutes, but her effort on the turn lacked bite and Sabrina D’Angelo scooped it up comfortably.
With 24 minutes left, USC pulled ahead 3-1 when Romness launched a free kick deep into the LSU penalty area where Holland headed it to Fahey, who knocked it home for her first goal of the season.
Holland got one of her own two minutes later when Grimsley slipped the ball through to her one-on-one with Isom. Isom came off her line and forced Holland to push the ball wide, but Holland dribbled around the LSU goalie and, with a narrow angle to work with, placed the ball inside the far post.
“LSU is very dangerous offensively,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I thought this would be a tight match.
“I thought they’d score a couple, and our offense would get some goals. Any game in the SEC is difficult, especially on the road.”