BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU scored twice in the second half and rallied for a 3-2 Southeastern Conference soccer victory over Arkansas on Thursday.
Arkansas scored twice less than a minute apart for a 2-0 first-half lead, but LSU closed within 2-1 at the break and won it in the second period.
In the 86th minute, Fernanda Pina scored the game-winner from the right side of the 18. She took a pass and made a move around a defender to fire a shot into the right side of the goal. She got the score off passes from Danielle Murphy and Carlie Banks.
"The game went in waves," head coach Colby Hale said. "I didn't think the first half was great, but we were up 2-0 on two opportunistic goals. Credit goes to LSU. They pressed and we weren't able to match them. We will get ready for Monday."
The loss, coupled with Auburn's 3-2 double-overtime win over Alabama, gives the Razorbacks the No. 7 seed in next week's SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. The Razorbacks are in the conference tournament for the first time since 2000. Arkansas plays on Monday at 4 p.m. against 10th-seeded South Carolina.
"This team is very resilient," Hale said. "They will be ready to play on Monday. It was a tough loss, but give credit to LSU. They played well."
The Razorbacks close the regular season 9-9-1 overall and 6-6-1 in the SEC. The six SEC victories are a school record.
With the score 2-2, Arkansas had a chance to regain the lead with 12 minutes left after a foul. Allie Tripp played a free kick into the 18, and a pair of shot attempts were off the mark.
LSU had a header with just more than 10 minutes to go off a cross from the near side. The header was on target, but right at Arkansas keeper Kelly Roliard for the save.
Arkansas had a 15-11 advantage in shots, but LSU had a 7-3 lead in shots on goal. LSU had a 4-3 lead in corner and both teams were called for six fouls.
At 30:28 a foul on Chandler 25 yards out gave Arkansas a free kick. Allie Tripp took the kick from straight away on goal and the ball sailed just under the crossbar. LSU keeper Megan Kinneman knocked it down, but the ball was loose on the ground in front of the goal. Both Ellenwood and Jessie Givens were deep in the box and got a touch, and Ellenwood was credited with the score off the deflection inside the left post.
Less than a minute later, at 31:07, Jeriann Okoro took the ball away from a Tiger, sprinted to the edge of the 18 and beat Kinnerman in a one-on-keeper situation for the score, giving Arkansas a 2-0 lead.
"We're fighting hard and scoring goals," Hale said. "There's some confidence in that, we just have to be a little cleaner in our defending."
Arkansas just missed padding its lead in the 39th minute and another free kick by Tripp was headed off the crossbar by Ellenwood.
The Tigers closed within 2-1 with 2:11 remaining when Jodi Calloway scored on a header off a corner from the near side by Kovacevic.
For the period, Arkansas had a 7-6 lead in shots, but the teams were tied 2-2 in shots on goal. Both teams also had two corners.
In the second period, seven minutes in, Heather Magee got inside the box for a one-on-one with Roliard. The shot bounced off Roliard for the save and Magee took a few steps back for a follow shot, but Roliard hit the ground again for a second save.
The Tigers knotted the game with just more than 20 minutes remaining. A foul gave LSU a free kick 25 yards out. Kovacevic fired the free kick to the right side of the Razorback wall, set up just inside the 18, and into the top right corner of the net.