Aug 23, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will open the 2013 regular season on Sunday afternoon, when it travels to Winston-Salem, N.C. to take on the No. 15 Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT). It will mark the first match-up on the pitch between the two teams.
HOW TO WATCH/FOLLOW THE ACTION
Fans can follow the match vs. Wake Forest on twitter and instagram (@AlabamaSoccer) or via the below outlets:
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Alabama returns nine starters and 12 letterwinners off last season's squad, which includes its top six goal-scorers from a year ago. In fact, the returning players combined to score 34 of the team's 37 goals and totaled 91 of the 109 total points in 2012.
Wake Forest begins the 2013 season ranked 15th in the NSCAA's preseason poll. The Demon Deacons finished last year at No. 15 in the nation after rising as high as No. 3 during the year. Eight starters return for Wake Forest, headlined by senior co-captains Aubrey Bledsoe and Katie Stengel, who both earned All-America honors from the NSCAA in 2011 and 2012. Other senior starters returning include Ally Berry, Caralee Keppler, Annick McBryar, Rachel Nuzzolese and Jackie McSally.
Alabama and Wake Forest will meet for the first time in program history when the two teams square off on Sunday in Winstom-Salem, N.C.
Alabama, which will begin its 23rd season in program history in 2013, boasts an impressive record of 16-5-1 in season-opening contests. The Tide has a record of 6-3-1 when opening a campaign away from Tuscaloosa. UA head coach Todd Bramble is 3-1-1 at Alabama in season openers.
CLOSING IN ON A SCHOOL RECORD
Senior Molly Atherton has compiled 156 career shots and enters the 2013 season needing only nine more shots to become the school's all-time leader in the category. The record of 164 career shots is currently held by Melissa McGee (1997-2000).
Her 61 shots in 2012 rank fifth in program history, while her 55 shots in 2011 is sixth.
Entering her senior season, Atherton has started all 59 contests of her collegiate career.
IN FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS
When Alabama plays at Wake Forest, the Tide will have a number of connections to the local area.
Three members of the 2013 Crimson Tide roster played high school and club soccer in the area. Freshmen Caroline Alexander (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park HS) and Auburn Mercer (Matthews, N.C./Weddington HS), along with sophomore Emily Rusk (Charlotte, N.C./North Mecklenburg HS) all played just about an hour from Wake Forest and each were a part of the Charlotte Soccer Academy.
Alabama assistant coach Jason Lowe played his college soccer at Wake Forest from 1994-98. He graduated from Wake Forest in 1998 with a degree in business. He also earned is MBA from the Bacock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest in 2002.
Alabama will open the home portion of its 2013 schedule with a pair of games next weekend. The Crimson Tide will host Georgia State on Friday and Mercer on Sunday. Both contests will kick off at 7 p.m. CT.