Coming into the weekend, LSU Soccer was fighting an uphill battle. In order to properly lock up a spot in the SEC Tournament, LSU needed 6 points, with the absolute minimum acceptable being 4, and they had to do so against #8 South Carolina after a one day turnaround Mississippi State.
The lone goal in Friday night's game came when Natalia Gomez-Junco did that cool thing were she got behind a free kick and beat the keeper from distance.
That came in the 10th minute and proved to be all LSU needed to dispose of Mississippi State, winning 11 straight against the Bulldogs. Baucom and Gomez-Junco had a chance each later on the match, but their efforts were fruitless. Catalina Rubiano shined on her end of field, picking up her 6th clean sheet of the year in an otherwise uneventful match. LSU used the win to vault up to 7th in the SEC standings, clearing the #10 spot needed to make the SEC Tournament.
Sunday's game against the Gamecocks started out ominously enough, with the game being moved to the practice field due to the conditions at LSU Soccer Stadium being deemed unplayable due to deluge that hit Baton Rouge over the weekend. Thanks to the rain, Rubiano lost possession of a saved ball in the 3rd minute that Gamecock forward Raina Johnson got a hold of and deposited for a 1-0 lead.
LSU had an answer in the form of Jorian Baucom, who outclassed the South Carolina backline following excellent service from Gabriela Maldonado and smashed a perfect strike to level the game. Baucom nearly won the game in the 47th off of a first touch strike, but South Carolina keeper Caroline Kelly was able to tip the ball just enough to deflect it out. After the Gamecocks took the lead, LSU hit South Carolina with a barrage of 5 shots in 15 minutes in the pouring ran. South Carolina proved their salt and came back into the game, but in the drenching monsoon neither team could power ahead and played to a draw.
The draw secured LSU's unbeaten season at LSU Soccer Stadium, going 8-0-4 on the year, and allowed them to hold ground in the SEC table:
LSU's final regular season match of the year is Thursday night in Kentucky at 5:30 on SEC Network+. Here's a quick rundown of the possible outcomes and their implications:
With a win LSU clinches a spot in the SEC Tournament outright with 17 points, since none of the four teams with 12 points can catch LSU.
With a draw LSU is likely to still go since the Tigers possess a better overall record than all the teams with 12 points on the table, and has a win against Georgia.
With a loss LSU *still* has a chance of being eligible. For LSU to miss, three things would have to happen: Georgia beating #8 Florida, Tennessee beating #8 South Carolina, and Vanderbilt beating #13 Ole Miss.
So while doesn't have a trip secured just yet, the cards are in favor of the Tigers thanks to their late season push.