Northwestern State ties LSU in first non-losing result against Power 5 school in program history

 Freshman forward Kayleigh Phillips, shown here in Friday's match against LSU-A, scored the game-tying goal Tuesday against LSU in a 1-1 tie. PHOTO: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

Freshman forward Kayleigh Phillips, shown here in Friday’s match against LSU-A, scored the game-tying goal Tuesday against LSU in a 1-1 tie.
PHOTO: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

The Northwestern State soccer team logged its first non-losing result against a Power Five conference member in program history Tuesday as the Lady Demons tied LSU 1-1.

With time winding down and the Lady Demons trailing 1-0, freshman Kayleigh Phillips scored an 83rd-minute goal on an assist from senior Cassandra Briscoe to knot the score at 1, which couldn’t be broken in two 10-minute overtime periods with LSU (1-0-1).

Head coach George Van Linder said a scrappy defense allowed NSU (1-1-1) to hang around, creating one of the most momentous occurrences in NSU history.

“For us, we’ve talked about playing hard for 90 minutes and playing with confidence, and we did that tonight,” Van Linder said. “LSU gave us everything they had, and every second of this match was crazy.

“It was a heckuva game for the fans between two teams that were evenly matched. We’ve talked about being like the teams of the past, and we’re one step closer.”

Phillips fired a shot to the top inside corner from 10 yards out for NSU’s goal. In her first three matches, Phillips has two goals and an assist in scoring a team-high five points this season.

“She has a lot of confidence, and late in the game, we decided to go for it and see if we could get the equalizer,” Van Linder said. “She was itching to go in, and she went in and made great runs.

“You could feel that goal was coming. It’s so great to have her. We always talked about her as a natural goal scorer, and we didn’t know how she’d make the transition to college soccer, but she’s making it pretty well right now.”

The defense largely withstood a barrage of shots in regulation and overtime, absorbing 19 of LSU’s 20 attempts (seven on goal).

Six LSU shots were attempted in overtime, but NSU wasn’t content to play for a tie and took three of their nine shots after regulation.

NSU goalkeepers Brooke Bourbonais and Alex Latham played a large role in holding LSU to one goal, which came in the 52nd minute when LSU’s Alex Thomas ran to the right side of the box and smacked one inside the far post.

Bourbonais supplied a scoreless first half with three saves on eight shot attempts, including a save on a penalty kick by Jorian Baucom late in the half.

Latham entered in the second half and made two regulation saves and one in the overtimes while facing a combined 12 shots.

“Both goalkeepers played outstanding, and I’m very proud of them,” Van Linder said. “Not many teams would play two keepers in a game like this, but we have the best tandem of keepers in the (Southland Conference).

“Our back four were phenomenal as well and continue to get better. This confidence will help us after playing two SEC teams (Texas A&M on Sunday) in three days. We didn’t get much respect in the preseason (from the Southland Conference), and maybe now we earned that respect. We want to move forward and continue to show everybody what we’re about.”

The scoreless LSU first half was the second straight clean half against an SEC opponent after No. 5 Texas A&M didn’t score in the second half of a 3-0 Aggies’ win.

Briscoe attempted a team-high three shots (two on goal) while Camila Ardila took two shots. Four of NSU’s nine shots were on goal.

The Lady Demons head to Jackson State on Sunday for a 1 p.m. contest.

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