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Soccer Returns To NCAA Tournament

The bad news is you'll be busy during the match.

Mike Kittell

Thanks in large part to a six match unbeaten streak that extended to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, the LSU Tigers (13-5-4) are in the NCAA tournament. On Saturday at 7, the Tigers will play South Alabama (17-2-2) in Mobile.

The Jaguars may seem to be a scoff at first, but think if LSU made it to the College Football Playoffs and drew Houston. USA beat Mississippi State 1-0 back in August for their first match of the season. The Jaguars lone losses on the year came  2-1 against South Florida and Auburn alike back in early September. After drawing Marquette on September 17th, the Jags ran riot over the Sun Belt, winning 11 matches in a row. The only other blemish on their schedule came in the 2nd game of the Sun Belt Tournament, where USA drew Appalachian State 2-2 but advanced to the championship game on penalties, 10-9.

Going unbeaten in your conference is never no small matter. South Alabama. Instead of one or two goalscorers like LSU has faced all season (a style is true for LSU themselves, with Baucom and Clarke leading the charge), South Alabama has a wide array of players who can deposit the ball. The Jaguars have 5 players who have scored 5 or more goals, with Charde Hannah leading the charge with 10 goals and 5 assists, her counterpart being Jemma Purfield, who has set up 10 goals while scoring three herself. The LSU backline will be tested, and their marking will frankly have to be the best it's been all year. I think if LSU can stifle the Jaguars attack, then the counter opportunities for Baucom and Clarke will be there.

Should LSU win, they advance to play #1 seed Florida, provided they beat Evansville.