Aug. 9, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will cap off just a little over a week of training with an exhibition match against the Clemson Tigers on Saturday, August 11, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. CT at Riggs Field on the Clemson campus. This will be the lone exhibition match of the season for the Crimson Tide.
2011 SEASON RECAP
Alabama finished 2011 with a 10-9-3 record and its first NCAA tournament berth since 1998. The Crimson Tide won its first SEC tournament game since 2004 and advanced to the SEC tournament semifinals for the first time since 1998. Alabama defeated three ranked teams in a season for the first time ever, as well as both regular season conference champions South Carolina and SEC tournament winners Auburn. Alabama returns eight starters and 14 letterwinners from last season's squad.
Clemson went 6-12 last season, its first under head coach Eddie Radwanski. The Tigers went 6-2 in non-conference play, its best mark since 2007, but went 0-10 in ACC play. Clemson returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad. Clemson was led by forward Maddy Elder, who posted eight goals and six assists and 22 points for the Tigers. Liska Dobberstein finished the year with six goals and five assists and 17 points. In goal, the Tigers are led by junior goalie Lauren Arnold, who finished 2011 with 42 saves and four shutouts as well as a 1.70 goals against average. Clemson unofficially opened the 2012 season on Tuesday night with a 6-1 exhibition win over Western Carolina. Dobberstein scored four times on the night, as the Tigers outshot the Catamounts, 20-5.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama is led by a pair of sophomores in Pia Rijsdijk and Theresa Diederich. Rijsdijk finished the 2011 season with five goals and four assists and 14 points, and had a school record 78 shots. Rijsdijk was also named to the NSCAA All-South Region team and the SEC All-Freshmen team last year as well. Diederich bounced back from missing her true freshman season to lead the team with seven goals and 15 points during her redshirt freshman campaign and was also named to the SEC All-Freshmen team. Diederich recently led her club team to a U-19 national title, before returning to the Capstone for training camp.
ALABAMA TABBED FOURTH IN WESTERN DIVISION
The Alabama soccer team was picked to finish fourth in the SEC Western Division as voted upon by the conference coaches. Newcomer Texas A&M was tabbed as the division champion as LSU and Auburn were picked to finish second and third, respectively. Overall, Florida was predicted as the league champions, claiming 10 first-place votes, topping Texas A&M's four votes.
SEC PRESEASON WATCH LIST
The SEC unveiled its soccer coaches preseason watch list. The Alabama soccer team had four players selected as sophomores Theresa Diederich and Pia Rijsdijk, junior Molly Atherton and senior Ashley Willis were selected to the list. Diederich led the Tide with seven goals and was tied for the team lead with 15 points while Rijsdijk closely followed with14 points on five goals and four assists. Atherton paced the squad with three game-winning goals, totaling 10 points on four goals and two assists. Willis returns with the most minutes played of all starters last season and added 10 points on three goals and four assists from the backline.
NEXT TIME OUT
Alabama will start the 2012 non-conference portion of its schedule when it opens the season at Kennesaw State on Friday, August 17, at 6 p.m. CT