BATON ROUGE – Sophomore midfielder Heather Magee scored the only goal of the game when she buried a right-footed strike from the top of the penalty area in the 49th minute of play to lead the LSU Soccer team to a 1-0 shutout of Missouri on Friday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium and keep the Tigers at the top of the SEC standings.
The Tigers (9-3-2, 5-0-1 SEC) won their second-straight match against Missouri (6-7-1, 2-3-1) following last year’s 3-1 win in Columbia to extend their unbeaten streak to seven-straight this season.
The Tigers are now 6-0-1 since pitching a 1-0 shutout at Rice to wrap up the non-conference season back on Sept. 15 while also remaining unbeaten through their first six SEC games for the first time in program history. They are also unbeaten in their last nine SEC regular-season matches with an 8-0-1 mark since a 3-2 overtime win at Ole Miss on Oct. 19 of last year.
After playing to a scoreless draw in the first half of Friday’s contest, LSU turned up the offensive pressure on Missouri’s defensive unit coming out of the break with an explosive start to the second half.
Magee nearly broke the deadlock inside of two minutes from the restart when she fired a header on goal inside the left post on a corner kick by freshman midfielder Emma Fletcher, but Missouri goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein made an incredible reaction save to deny Magee her second goal of the season in the 47th minute.
But Magee would not be denied a second time when she scored the breakthrough just two minutes later on a cracker from the top of the box that caught Sauerwein’s fingertip and deflected inside the left post.
Freshman striker Summer Clarke led the attack with a run into the box as she broke free from her defender and put a shot on frame from eight yards that was stopped by Sauerwein. Clarke then collected the rebound and found Magee running across the top of the box for a one-time strike into the back of the net for her second goal of the season at the 48:49 mark of the second half.
“I knew Summer (Clarke) was going to get into the box. I was just waiting back, watching the play a little bit, supporting the ball,” Magee said of the buildup for the goal. “I saw it pop out for me. I tried to be as calm and composed as I could be running onto the ball and just tap it in. I was able to put a good strike on it, and great for us that it got through.”
Freshman Megan Lee had an opportunity to give the Tigers an early lead in the ninth minute when she was played through on a breakaway, but fired a 10-yard strike just over the crossbar and out of play.
Clarke, the reigning TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week, also kept the pressure on Missouri’s back line throughout the game as she finished with her team-leading five shots and three shots on goal. But it was her assist on Magee’s goal in the 49th minute that broke the ice and led the Tigers to the 1-0 victory.
Senior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman led the defensive effort once again as she saved each of Missouri’s six shots on goal on the night to pitch her sixth shutout of the season. Kinneman has now tied her single-season career-high with her sixth clean sheet of the season and 17th clean sheet of her career to rank No. 2 on LSU’s all-time list.
Kinneman directed a back line that also featured senior Addie Eggleston, juniors Alex Arlitt and Jodi Calloway and redshirt freshman Gracie Campbell as the Tigers held Missouri scoreless for the full 90 minutes.
“It was nice to win it with a shutout. Megan Kinneman was fantastic in goal again, and I thought our back four played great,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee following the contest. “Our kids were really coachable tonight. We made a little tactical adjustment at halftime. We’re happy with it. We’re also happy to get a couple of days off and come back to work again on Tuesday.”
With the win, LSU held its one-point advantage atop the SEC standings as the only unbeaten team in league play through the midway point of the conference season.
The Tigers top the charts with an unbeaten 5-0-1 mark and 16 points in league play, followed by Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas A&M in a tie for second place with 15 points, and Florida and Ole Miss in a tie for fifth place with 12 points apiece. Alabama trails in seventh place with eight points, followed by Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee in a tie for eighth place with seven points to round out the Top 10.
The Tigers will now take Sunday off before returning to action next weekend when they welcome the Ole Miss Rebels to Baton Rouge on Friday, Oct. 18, for a match that is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Stadium. They will then head to Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 20, to face No. 8-ranked Florida at noon CT at James. G. Pressly Stadium.