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Auburn masters first road test with win over Syracuse

99 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Auburn soccer picked up a victory in its first road match of the season Thursday, defeating Syracuse 2-1 at SU Soccer Stadium. Junior defender LJ Knox scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the 61st minute, which held up as the game-winner.

Overall, the Tigers outmatched the Orange 16-8 on shots and 10-2 on shots-on-goal. Auburn created 11 corner kicks, its most since Oct. 9, 2022, versus Mississippi State, while Syracuse was only able to muster five. The opposing attack struck once in the 68th minute, but the Tigers defense buckled down to lock onto the advantage. Auburn has now limited its opponents to a single goal or less in 20 of its last 21 matches.

"It was our first game against a Power-5 team, and I thought our we really battled well against a tough Syracuse squad," head coach Karen Hoppa said. "We had some good runs of play, created a lot of chances, and scored two good goals. Unfortunately, we gave up one late, which made it stressful down the stretch, but our team did a good job managing the game out, so we're thrilled to walk out of here with a win."

It was redshirt-senior Marissa Arias that ignited the offense in the 25th minute. Two minutes after checking into the game, Arias netted her second goal in as many matches. Fifth year Sydney Richards initiated the play, finding senior Anna Haddock on the right edge of the 18. Haddock took a chance on left post that was deflected back into play by the Orange keeper. Arias picked up the deflection for a right-footed tap-in into the goal.

Knox put the game away for good in the 61st minute with service from senior Mallory Mooney off a corner kick. Mooney's ball bounced off Syracuse's Vanderbosch and found the right foot of Knox for the put-away. Knox has now contributed to the offensive stat line in two consecutive matches after collecting her first career assist against Troy last week.

"It was an awesome, epic win," Knox said. "Total team effort for all 90. We're hungry for more and determined to finish this road trip strong."

Auburn did surrender its first goal of the 2023 season midway through the second half. The Orange's Hannah Pilley snuck one into the back of the net following a 'Cuse corner in minute 68.

Syracuse's only other on-target chance came in the second minute from Erin Flurey; however, it was stuffed on a right-sided layout from Tigers' keeper Maddie Prohaska. Prohaska now owns 194 career saves and a 0.89 career goals against average.

Auburn looks to close out the road swing with another match at Army West Point Sunday, Aug. 27. Kickoff at Malek Stadium is set for 1pm ET on ESPN+.