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Jones, Nakao Strike Early to Help Memphis Advance in Front of Record Crowd

The Memphis women’s soccer team defeated the LSU Tigers 2-1 Saturday night in front of a record crowd, to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. 

Despite an 18-1 record heading into the NCAA tournament, Memphis was given a 6 seed. The 11-seed LSU Tigers entered the contest at 8-7-4 following a first-round loss in the SEC tournament. 

Memphis was ranked in the top 10 of national polls and cruised through the AAC tournament but was seeded as a 6. 

2,073 Memphis Tigers fans supported their top 10 squad, setting an attendance record at the Billy J. Murphy Soccer Complex.  

The Tigers in blue made their frustration felt early in this contest. In the third minute, AAC Offensive Player of the Year Mya Jones gave Memphis the lead. 

Just 20 seconds later, Momo Nakao sank a shot from the top of the box off a deflection to give the home team a 2-0 advantage. 

In the 19th minute, LSU had their first chance of the match stymied by Memphis goalkeeper Kaylie Bierman. 

The rest of the first half was fairly even, as neither team saw a shot on goal.  

Memphis came out of halftime aggressive, as AAC freshman of the year Anna Hauer saw her shot saved by LSU goalkeeper Bailey Herfurth less than ten seconds into the half. 

After a string of LSU substitutions, the road Tigers were able to get on the scoreboard in the 70th minute. Forward Ava Galligan cut the Memphis lead in half. 

Memphis held strong in the final 20 minutes to earn a hard-fought first-round victory. 

For the second year in a row, the Tigers will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas where they will face the 3-seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish enter the matchup at 12-3-4. 

Memphis will look to avoid a repeat of last season’s elimination in Arkansas Friday night. 

The winner of Memphis and Notre Dame will play the winner of Arkansas and Pittsburgh for a trip to the final four. 

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