The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns soccer team had their first game of the 2020 season on Friday, Sept. 4. Louisiana won their opener 2-0 against Abilene Christian.
This win was the team’s first opening season win in six years.
Fans were able to attend the match, but with strict rules. Masks were required, certain seats were marked off and tailgating, along with field access, was prohibited.
Several shots were taken in the game, but Julianne DeBlieux and Lizzie Mayfield were the two players to put Louisiana on the scoreboard. In the first half, Mayfield, a transfer from West Virginia, earned a point for Louisiana off of an upper right-hand corner shot. She then assisted DeBlieux, Louisiana’s team captain, with an upper left corner shot in the second half.
Prior to the season, DeBlieux expressed how ready she was for it to start. “Every day has been like, well this could potentially be my last day so make the best of it,’” DeBlieux said. She definitely kept that mindset with her goal in the season opener.
On the defensive end, Jordan Higgins, a transfer from Sierra College, did a phenomenal job in the goalkeeper position. She stopped four shots in total.
The game opener was a very much upper-classmen-dominated effort, as Mayfield and Higgins are both juniors and DeBlieux is a senior.
Prior to this game opener, junior defender Gwen Mummert was named on the Preseason All-Sun Belt team. Louisiana was also tied for the fifth position in their conference ranking.
Compared to last season, the Ragin’ Cajuns are already off to a better start. Louisiana started off the season last year with a 0-3 loss against UTSA, followed by another loss and a tie before gaining their footing. In their first victory of the 2019 season, the team defeated Chicago State 2-0, though the goals scored during that game were by Karleen Bedre and Skyla Sykes.
Sykes stated how ready she is for the 2020 season, and if her gameplay from the 2019 season is any indication, she will deliver.
“I’m most looking forward to every game, I mean it’s my last season and probably the last time I’ll be able to play on a team,” Sykes said.
In 2019 Mackenzie Lee was the goalkeeper that spearheaded the Louisiana defensive. Head Coach Lance Key was a strong believer in her.
“I think on the defensive side of things, we’re going to have to rely heavily on the leadership of our goalkeeper Mackenzie Lee, who’s a senior,” Key said in an interview from last season. Higgins has big shoes to fill, but so far she’s doing well.
Leadership from upperclassmen will be a big indication as to how the team will progress. Let’s see how the Ragin’ Cajuns keep up the momentum this season. The modified season is set to run until Oct. 25 and only has five away games before conference play starts in November.