In the opening game of the Arizona State Desert Classic head coach Becca Moros and her team lost to No. 17 Louisiana State University 2-0 in Tempe on September 2 at Sun Devil Soccer stadium.
Playing against LSU was a game that showed a lot about where the team is early in the season. With the team still getting used to playing together under a new coaching system, LSU was able to exploit mistakes made by Arizona on Thursday.
LSU came out the gates ready to run, playing with aggression on offense that was hardly matched by Arizona defensively. Louisiana maintained pressure and possession in Arizona’s side of the field when opposing midfielder Maddie Moreau dribbled into the box. Moreau moved through Arizona’s defenders and scored a shot that went right above a jumping Hope Hisey into the upper corner of the goal at 10:52.
Arizona did start to pull together offensively to give Arizona’s Tianna Sidtikun a chance at scoring at 18:50 which was saved by LSU goalkeeper Mollee Swift. The teams continued to battle until Arizona turned the ball over which led to a Louisiana goal.
Hisey passed the ball to start building the attack on Sabrina Enciso. She then passed the ball forward and was not prepared to have it immediately sent back. Enciso then kicked the ball across the box where it was deflected by LSU forward Alesia Garcia. Garcia then earned herself an assist as Athena Kuehn shot the ball past Hisey at 28:26.
Louisiana continued to dominate possession throughout the rest of the first half, adding seven more shots but failed to connect on any of them before the half ended. LSU was defensively able to capitalize on a struggling Arizona offense.
Arizona’s offense had problems setting up the attack particularly due to issues with passing. This led to a lot of takeaways from LSU as Arizona failed to get any momentum going before the half was over.
Arizona looked much more composed to start the second half. Their passing tightened up and led to a quick shot taken by Gianna Christiansen which was saved by Swift at 46:15.
Arizona tightened up defensively and withstood a barrage of shots from LSU. Offensively they played like more of a team unit instead of individuals which allowed them to break into LSU’s half and sustain possession. Arizona’s next shot was taken at 65:22 by Olivia Briede off a cross from Arizona forward Jill Aguilera.
While it was saved by LSU’s Swift, it was one of Arizona’s best opportunities to score in the game. Aguilera got off a high arcing shot that was juggled and barely saved by Swift at 67:37.
Arizona’s Nicole Dallin fired off a shot that would have been her first goal had it not been stopped in its tracks by Swift at 84:40. Arizona was not able to get off another shot before the game ended.
Arizona played a much more competitive style of soccer in the second half but still only got off six shots to LSU’s 22 shots. LSU was able to take charge of the game and stop any chance of an Arizona comeback even with better play coming from Arizona in the second half.
LSU moves on to an unbeaten 5-0-0 record while Arizona drops to a record of 1-2-0 to start the season.
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