BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU soccer team dropped their 2019 season opener on the road against Villanova by a tally of 1-0 in Philadelphia.
Villanova’s Chloe O’Neill got in behind LSU’s backline in the 27th minute for the game winner from the left side of the box about 12 yards out; she was assisted on the goal by Brice Mcinroy.
The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to strike back in the first half and the best chance for a goal came in the 44th minute. It all started when sophomore Reese Moffatt played a deep ball to Meghan Johnson down the right side of the pitch. Johnson secured possession and made a move past her defender and entered the box. Keeping her defender on her hip, Johnson sent in a ground cross that found the foot of Hannah Cuneo, who was making her LSU debut. Cuneo touched it quickly and her shot from eight yards out was saved by Villanova’s Hensley Hancuff.
LSU kept the pressure on and earned a free-kick just outside the left side of the box a minute later. Tinaya Alexander took the attempt and her play in the six was corralled by the Nova keeper. Shannon Cooke had the first shot on goal of the match from about 20 yards out, and Maddie Moreau played a part in Alexander’s other shot on net that came in the first half.
Emma Grace Goldman made her first collegiate start and had an impressive 10 saves. She balanced it out with 5 in the first half and then 5 in the second half. Goldman was tested twice early in the second half and she stepped up big to keep the Tigers deficit to just one goal. The first ball was a ground cross in front of the six in the 48th minute that she came out and smothered before it could get through to a Villanova attacker on the other side. She came back and made another stellar play on a ball that was headed by Villanova’s Kristin Barbour from six yards in the 55th minute.
LSU’s one-goal deficit was preserved by Chiara Ritchie-Williams with less than two minutes to play. A ground cross from Villanova resulted in a shot from Niki Molina that initially made it past Goldman and looked destined for the net, but that’s where Ritchie-Williams came in at. She made a beautiful sliding save and cleared the ball of danger to keep the Tigers in the match.
Up next the Tigers will take on Navy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday at 12:00 P.M. CT. The match will take place at Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.