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Natalie Bode | | September 16, 2021

No. 6 LSU soccer has already made history this season, but the Tigers aren't done yet

LSU women's soccer's Chiara Ritchie-Williams discusses team's record breaking season

In a media session leading up to LSU's conference opener against Mississippi State on Thursday, LSU coach Sian Hudson mentioned many things. She noted her team's success, the desire to avenge the 2-1 loss her team endured to the Bulldogs last season, and the following statement:

"We're ready for a fight."

It seems this mantra has been engrained in the Tigers' mentality since before the 2021 season began.

Through seven games, and even before conference play has started, LSU has already achieved its highest ranking in program history at No. 6, defeated the most ranked opponents in a single season in school history, holds the longest active winning streak in NCAA soccer and sits a perfect 7-0. The Tigers have outscored opponents 26-4, winning five of their seven games by at least two goals.

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This performance comes just 10 months after Hudson received her first ranked win with LSU women's soccer back in November 2020. Now, Hudson has the highest win percentage of any coach in LSU soccer history.

Despite six conference losses during fall 2020, going 0-6-2, the Tigers managed to bounce back in the SEC tournament, earning two upsets against Alabama and Ole Miss and earning a spot in the quarterfinals. By the spring season's end, LSU was 8-8-3.

Yet the 2020 SEC tournament showcased a glimmer of what LSU soccer could become.

One season later, the same team that couldn't win a game before its conference tournament now is in elite territory as one of just 12 teams in the country without a loss or a tie.

Part of this success is what fifth year senior midfielder Chiara Ritchie-Williams describes as resisting complacency. 

"Regardless of the score, and whether we won the game or not, there is still a lot for us to improve," she said. "For us, I think [the difference] has been making sure that we aren't complacent, and making sure that anything that we've been told  to work on, we are working our tails off every day of the week and improving on what we have achieved."

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This mentality paired with veteran talent has been key for LSU in creating a turnaround from the 2020 season. Hudson, a former international player in Wales, has also compiled a roster with a diverse group of talent from all over the world.

"Our team right now has a lot more older players and with age, obviously comes experience. We do have a lot of transfers, and they've added different, unique components to the game," Ritchie-Williams said.

"This also helps with our team being a lot more diverse. I'm an international, we have players from Canada, and Ghana and all over the world. They've all been able to contribute something that is unique and special to the team."

This team has certainly already created a special season, but Ritchie-Williams is hopeful that the best is yet to come. Before sounding the alarm that this team is a national contender, they will need to post a strong performance in their conference, beginning today with the SEC opener.

"We still have a lot more to learn and so much more to show with the coaching staff and the resources and the players that we have," Ritchie-Williams said.

"We didn't come this far to come this far."

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