Soccer Set for First Road Trip of 2014 Season

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Aug. 28, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will make its first road trip of the season this weekend when it travels to the state of Tennessee for a pair of games. The Tide will first square off against Austin Peay on Friday night, followed by travelling to take on Middle Tennessee on Sunday. Both contests kick off at 7 p.m. CT.


FOLLOW THE TIDE ONLINE

Fans can watch/follow this weekend's matches via the below outlets:

Gametracker: Friday - LetsGoPeay.com | Sunday - GoBlueRaiders.com

Watch: Friday - NA | Sunday - GoBlueRaiders.com (Free)

Radio: NA            

Twitter: @AlabamaSoccer


THE OPENING KICK

• The Crimson Tide has scored six goals in its two games thus far this season. Leading the offensive attack is redshirt freshman Hailey Brohaugh, who has scored two goals (four points) this season. True freshman Lacey Clarida (1g, 1a) and seniors Pia Rijsdijk (1g, 1a) and Theresa Diederich (0g, 3a) each has three points apiece.

• Rijsdijk is closing in on the program's all-time shots record, which was set just last year by Molly Atherton. Atherton finished her career with 199 shots during her four-year career. Rijsdijk comes into the weekend with with 181 career shots.

• Alabama returns nine starters and 12 letterwinners off last season's squad, which includes four seniors from a year ago. However, the Tide will be a young team as 15 members of the squad are either sophomores (5) or freshmen (10).


SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama enters the weekend with a 1-1 record on the season. The Crimson Tide defeated Kennesaw State, 5-1, on Aug. 22, followed by a tough 2-1 loss to Memphis on Aug. 24.

• Five different players scored a goal for Alabama over the weekend, led by redshirt freshman Hailey Brohaugh's two goals - both coming against the Owls. Seniors Merel Van Dongen, Laura Lee Smith  and Pia Rijsdijk and true freshman Lacey Clarida also found the back of the net over the weekend.

• Alabama has scored six goals in its two games thus far. That's a far improvement from a year ago, when the Tide didn't score its sixth goal until the ninth game of the season. Alabama had only four goals and was shut out five times in its first eight games in 2013.

• The Crimson Tide returns four of its top five offensive leaders in total points from a year ago. Highlighting the list of returning scorers is senior Pia Rijsdijk (7g, 4a/18 pts), who led the team in goals and points last season. Rijsdijk was one of the top players in league play a year ago. After recording only one point in non-conference play, the Numansdorp, Netherlands native accounted for 17 of her 18 points against SEC competition. Joining Rijsdijk in the offensive attack will be seniors Merel Van Dongen (4g, 0a), Theresa Diederich (3g, 2a) and Laura Lee Smith (3g, 0a).

• Alabama returns nine starters and 12 letterwinners off last season's squad, which includes four seniors from a year ago. However, the Tide will be a young team as 15 members of the squad are either sophomores (5) or freshmen (10).

• Senior Merel Van Dongen returns for her senior season after missing the final 12 games of last year with a knee injury. She injured the knee in mid-September training with the Netherlands Women's National Team. Van Dongen, who was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and an second team All-SEC performer in 2012, scored four goals in the team's first six games a year ago, including a pair of game-winners.


SCOUTING AUSTIN PEAY

• Austin Peay comes into its game against Alabama sporting a 1-1 overall record on the season The Governors dropped its season-opener, falling at Evansville, 3-0, on Aug. 22. Austin Peay returned home on Aug. 24 and recorded its first win of the year, topping Chattanooga, 5-2.

• Austin Peay is led by sophomore forward Merritt Monger, who leads the team with two goals and four points. Senior midfielder Claire Pultz is second on the team with three points on a goal and assist, and leads the team with seven shots in the team's two contests.

• The Governers have 11 newcomers and return just four seniors in 2015. Austin Peay lost eight seniors from last season's 11-6-2 squad.

• Austin Peay was picked to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference in a league vote by the OVC head coaches and sports information directors.


SCOUTING MIDDLE TENNESSEE

• Middle Tennessee enters the weekend with an 0-1 record, having dropped a 1-0 overtime decision at Belmont on Aug. 24.

• Sunday's match against Alabama marks the home-opener for the Blue Raiders, who play at Lipscomb on Friday night.

• The Blue Raiders return 21 players and nine starters from last season's 6-8-4 squad.

• Middle Tennessee is in its 19th season in program history with a 185-144-30 record. Head Coach Aston Rhoden is in his 13th season at the helm of the Blue Raiders program and owns a 137-83-25 record.


SERIES HISTORY

• Alabama will meet Austin Peay will meet for the first time in series history on Friday night.

• Alabama and Middle Tennessee will square off for the sixth time in series history and the first time since the 2010 campaign, when the two teams meet on Sunday night.

• The Tide owns a 4-1 edge in the all-time series, including capturing wins in there straight games vs. the Blue Raiders. Alabama recorded a 3-0 victory in the last meeting between the squads, on Sept. 12, 2010 in Tuscaloosa.

• Sunday's match marks just the second time the Tide will play the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The only meeting, which came on Sept. 22, 2001, resulted in the only victory for Middle Tennessee in the series history, as it defeated Alabama, 2-1.


HELPING HAND

• Senior Theresa Diederich recorded three assists, all coming in the opening 45 minutes, in the 5-1 victory over Kennesaw State on Aug. 22.

• Diederich's three helpers are tied for the second-most in a game in program history. The last time an Alabama player acheived the feat came on Sept. 19, 2007 when Alex Butera had three assists against Alabama State. Libby Probst holds the program record, as she collected five assists in a win over Nicholls State on Sept. 16, 2005.

• Diederich now has seven assists in her career.


NUMBER CHANGE

• It was announced prior to the Tide's exhibition match against Mississippi State on Aug. 16 that junior midfielder/defender Abby Lutzenkirchen will switch jersey numbers. The jersey will make its debut on Friday night vs. Austin Peay.

• Lutzenkirchen, who has worn No. 33 during her previous two seasons with the Crimson Tide, will now wear No. 43 this season.

• The move was made to honor her brother, Phillip Lutzenkirchen, who was killed in an automobile accident in late June.

• Phillip Lutzenkirchen, who was the starting tight end on Auburn's 2010 national championship football team, wore the No. 43 during his collegiate and professional (Saint Louis Rams) career.


NEXT WEEK

• Alabama will return home for a pair of games over the weekend.

• The Tide will first welcome No. 2-ranked Virginia on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. CT. The Cavaliers could be the highest ranked team to ever step foot on the pitch at the Alabama Soccer Complex. Presently, the highest ranked team to ever play in Tuscaloosa is Florida in 2010, who entered its game at Alabama ranked No. 6 in the nation. The Tide battled the Gators to a 1-1 draw in that contest.

• Following Friday's match, Alabama will welcome Jacksonville State on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. CT.

• Friday's match will be military appreciation night as well as camp reunion night. The team will also sign autographs following the game.