Auburn's season opening trip turned out just about as good as they could have hoped. The Tigers notched two 1-0 road wins to get the season off on the right foot.
Auburn 1, UC-Irvine 0
A late first half goal from freshman substitute Charlotte Van Ishoven was all the Tigers would need. Van Ishoven, a Belgian International, was only on the pitch for 2 minutes for the entire game, but she made the most of it. She headed home a deflection off of a Kala Faulkner free kick with just 7 seconds left in the half. Ellie Leek consistently challenged the UCI keeper with 3 shots on target, but she couldn't quite find the back of the net.
Auburn's defense controlled the game from the outset. The Anteaters managed just 4 shots, and only one of them was on frame. Auburn kept UCI from even attempting a shot in the first half. Sarah Le Beau acquitted herself well between the posts in her first career start. She only needed to save one shot, but it was a good effort that had to be tipped over the bar for a UCI corner. Auburn cleared it and never again allowed the Anteaters to threaten.
Auburn 1, Long Beach State 0 (2 OT)
The Ramsier sisters combined to break 101 minutes of scoreless play and hand Auburn their second win of the season. The Beach had Auburn on the back foot for most of the game, forcing 8 saves out of Le Beau. Auburn held things together through the first overtime, and took advantage of a mistake by the Long Beach keeper. Casie Ramsier fired a shot that the keeper was unable to contain. Brooke Ramsier pounced on it and slotted it home for Auburn's second win of the season.
Auburn got two great defensive efforts. It was enough to earn Sarah Le Beau, who I didn't mention at all in my season preview, to win SEC Defensive Player of the Week. Even winning one of the two games in California could have been considered a moderate success. There may be some lingering questions about the efficiency of the attack, and allowing 8 shots on goal to Long Beach is of some concern, but two wins are two wins.
Stay tuned later this week for a preview of Auburn's first two home matches of the season.
Quick Edit: Auburn is now back in the Top 25! They come in at #16 after opening weekend.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Tigers are back in the national rankings at No. 16! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WAREAGLE?src=hash">#WAREAGLE</a> <a href="https://t.co/wAdrWVaxqQ">https://t.co/wAdrWVaxqQ</a></p>— Auburn Soccer (@AuburnSoccer) <a href="https://twitter.com/AuburnSoccer/status/636226540955676672">August 25, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Other Pictures and Tweets From the Weekend: