Big First Half Lifts Soccer Team Past Tennessee, 4-2

Sept. 29, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team erupted for three first half goals and held on to defeat Tennessee, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon at the Alabama Soccer Complex.

It marked the Crimson Tide's second Southeastern Conference win of the weekend (UA defeated Vanderbilt, 5-2, on Friday) to improve to 4-6 on the year and 2-1 in SEC play.

Senior Molly Atherton began the offensive onslaught in the opening half when she found the back of the net just 5:34 into the game to stake her team to an early 1-0 lead. It marked her first goal of the season.

The score stayed that way until the 28:39 mark when Laura Lee Smith scored on a penalty kick, which was her third goal of the season. Just over two minutes later, junior Pia Rijsdijk added to the lead with her third tally of the year off an assist from Katie Bourgeois to give Alabama a commanding 3-0 lead.

Tennessee (6-3-2, 1-1-1) would battle back in the second half, cutting the Tide lead to 3-2 on a pair of goals by Amy Neal in the 54th and 63rd minutes of play.

However, senior Kendall Khanna would put the game away with her first goal of the season in the 70th minute to result in the final score.

Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Rusk made four saves on the afternoon en route to picking up her fourth win of the year.

Entering this weekend's games, Alabama had only scored four goals in the first eight games of the year. However, the Tide's offense erupted for nine goals in the two matches over the weekend.

UA improves to 4-1 when playing at home this season.                                        

Alabama will continue Southeastern Conference play with a pair of games next weekend. The Tide will first travel to Athens, Ga., to square off with the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT). Alabama will then return home to take on LSU on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaSoccer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.