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BATON ROUGE – The No. 2-seeded LSU soccer team will travel to the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala., on Wednesday afternoon where it kicks off the postseason with a match against SEC West rival and No. 7-seeded Auburn at noon CT at the 2011 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament.
LSU (12-6-1, 8-3 SEC) and Auburn (11-6-2, 5-5-1) are set to square off in the opening match of what will surely be the most competitive SEC Tournament in the league’s history as all eight teams in the field open the event ranked among the Top 50 programs in the NCAA’s latest Ratings Percentage Index.
The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance to the SEC Tournament semifinal on Friday at 5 p.m. CT against either the No. 3-seeded Tennessee Lady Volunteers or the No. 6-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.
LSU is one of just two teams that have advanced to the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament in each of the last four seasons as the Tigers join the Florida Gators as the most consistent programs with their effort in Orange Beach during that time. The Tigers are 4-1-4 in nine SEC Tournament matches since 2007.
The Tigers will ride a wave of momentum to Orange Beach for this year’s SEC Tournament after winning their fourth SEC Western Division championship in five seasons and finishing in second place in the final SEC standings for the third time in four seasons with their performance in 2011. With an 8-3 mark and 24 points in league play, LSU posted its second-best conference record in program history this fall.
LSU actually owns an unbeaten 2-0-1 mark versus Auburn in three previous SEC Tournament matches as the Tigers pitched a 1-0 shutout against their division rival in their last postseason contest in the semifinal round in 2009 en route to their first appearance in the championship final.
LSU is actually the only No. 8 seed in tournament history to defeat the No. 1 seed in the opening round as it defeated Auburn by a 1-0 margin in their first postseason meeting in 2002. The teams also played to a 2-2 draw in the opening round in 2007 before LSU won a 4-2 decision in a penalty kick shootout.
LSU saw its four-game winning streak and five-game unbeaten streak against Auburn snapped on Oct. 14 while suffering a 3-1 defeat in their last meeting held at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
“This has certainly been a banner season for the Southeastern Conference. We expect this to be one of the most competitive tournaments this conference has seen in its history,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “It shows the strength of our league when any of the eight teams in the field can take home the title, and each could earn an NCAA Tournament berth next week. We’ve got a great challenge in front of us, and it starts tomorrow afternoon against a very good Auburn team in the first round.”
Auburn is 1-2-1 in four matches played since its home triumph over LSU on Oct. 14 as it secured seventh place in the final SEC standings with 16 points in league play. The team takes a two-game losing streak to Orange Beach after falling to Tennessee (0-2) and Alabama (2-3) in its last two outings.
Also qualifying for the 2011 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament is No. 1 seed and league champion South Carolina, No. 4 seed Florida, No. 5 seed Georgia and No. 8 seed Alabama.
Other first-round matches during Wednesday’s competition at the Orange Beach Sportsplex include Kentucky and Tennessee 2:30 p.m. CT, Alabama and South Carolina at 5 p.m. and Florida and Georgia at 7:30 p.m. This year’s SEC Tournament champion will be crowned following Sunday’s final that will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT before a nationally-televised audience on ESPNU.



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