Soccer Set for Home Opener Against Samford



Aug. 23, 2012

Match 2 |  Alabama (1-0-0) vs. Samford (0-1-0)

Friday, August 24, 6 p.m. CT

Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
Tickets Free Admission
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderSamford Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Series Record

3-1 | Last Meeting, UA 2 - SU 1 | Aug. 21, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team looks to stay unbeaten on the young 2012 campaign as it plays host to instate rival Samford. First kick is set for 6 p.m., at the Alabama Soccer Stadium. Alabama will then hit the road to play against UAB on Sunday, with first kick set for 1 p.m., in Birmingham.

Alabama opened the 2012 season with a 1-0 victory over Kennesaw State on August 17. The win was the third straight opening game victory for the Crimson Tide, and even though they were only able to score once, Alabama thoroughly dominated the match. Alabama outshot KSU, 19-4, and put nine of those shots on goal, while limiting the Owls to just one shot on goal. Freshman forward Katie Bourgeois scored the lone goal for Alabama, after senior Meghan Duffy’s throw in was flicked on by senior Kaitlyn Smith, allowing Bourgeois to do the rest.

Alabama used standout performances from two newcomers to open the season with a victory last week. Junior goalkeeper Shelby Church, a transfer from Southern Cal, played the full 90 minutes against Kennesaw State, needing only one save to record the shutout. Freshman forward Katie Bourgeois scored the game’s only goal, starting off her Alabama career with a game winner.

The Bulldogs enter the match 0-1 on the year after dropping their season opener, 4-0 at Tennessee. The matchup against Alabama is the second of three straight road games against Southeastern Conference foes, as Samford visits Auburn on August 31. The Bulldogs went to their third NCAA Tournament in seven seasons last year, finishing with a 14-6-2 record, including a 9-0-2 mark in the Southern Conference, and won both the regular season and conference tournament titles. Samford returns eight starters and 14 letterwinners from last season’s squad. The Bulldogs are led by head coach Todd Yelton, who enters his 10th season in charge. He has led the Bulldogs to a 110-48-26 record during that span.

The Blazers of UAB enter the match against Alabama with a 0-2 record. UAB traveled to the West Coast in their opening weekend to face off against two Pac-12 foes and were shut out in both matches. The Blazers opened the 2012 campaign with a 1-0 loss to the Oregon State Beavers. OSU scored the winning goal in the 88th minute. UAB then traveled to Eugene to play the Oregon Ducks, where they lost, 2-0. The Blazers are led by coach Harold Warren, who is in his second season in charge and has posted a 6-14-1 record at UAB.

Samford: The two teams have met four times, with Alabama holding a 3-1 series advantage over the Bulldogs. In last season’s matchup, Alabama used two goals from freshman Laura Lee Smith to defeat Samford, 2-1, in Birmingham. The last time the two teams tangled in Tuscaloosa was in 2010, when Alabama pulled out a 2-1 victory at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.

UAB: The two teams will be meeting for the 13th time, with the Blazers leading the series, 7-4-1. Alabama has won last two meetings by identical, 1-0 scores. Ashley Willis scored the game-winner for the Tide last season, finding the net in the 77th minute in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama enters the season 7-1 in home openers. Last season the Tide ran past Kennesaw State, 7-1. Its lone loss to open the home portion of its schedule came in 2009, with a 2-0 defeat from UAB. The largest win on opening night came in a 7-0 victory over Alabama A&M in 2004.

The Crimson Tide enters the season with a 106-56-11 overall record in Tuscaloosa. Alabama posted a 7-3-1 mark in 2011. Alabama has only posted three losing seasons on its home pitch and posted a school record nine wins in 1996 and was a perfect 6-0 in 1995. The Tide has won five or more matches at home in a season on 16 occasions.

Alabama has enjoyed success in non-conference matches under head coach Todd Bramble. In the midst of year five under Bramble, the Tide sports a 20-11-2 non-conference record. In the four completed seasons, Alabama has earned five or more wins three times, while earning four in 2009. UA has sported a winning record under its current manager every season against non-conference opponents.

2011: 6-4-1
2010: 5-2-0
2009: 4-3-0
2008: 5-2-1

Alabama entered the 2012 season with some fresh faces in the starting 11. Against Kennesaw State, head coach Todd Bramble started five newcomers, including four freshmen. Junior transfer Shelby Church earned the shutout in goal while rookie Katie Bourgeois scored the lone goal. Fellow freshmen Abby Lutzenkirchen, Kaylee Semelsberger and Merel Van Dongen got the starting nods as well.

Alabama put together one its better offensive seasons in recent years by scoring 33 goals last season. Most of the scoring came from underclassmen as five of the top six scorers were either freshmen or sophomores. With that young group the Tide returns 94 percent of its goals from a year ago. Theresa Diederich led the way with seven goals while Kendall Khanna and Pia Rijsdijk scored five goals apiece.

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.

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.

The SEC unveiled its soccer coach’s 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.

WVUA-FM will expand its coverage of Alabama Soccer in the 2012 season, covering both home and away matches this season the station announced. This will mark the first time the student-run station has aired all matches since it first broadcast Crimson Tide soccer in 2003. Josh Zavadil will return behind the mic for his second season as the voice of UA soccer.

Alabama will travel to Birmingham on Sunday, as the Crimson Tide will face off against the Blazers of UAB. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m., at West Campus Field.