|Match 6 | Alabama (5-0-0) vs. Maryland (3-1-1)
||Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m. CT
||Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
||General Admission | Free
||WVUA 90.7 FM
||Alabama Notes | Maryland Notes
||1-0 | Last Meeting, UA 2 - UM 1 | Nov. 1, 1998
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer (5-0-0) team looks to finish off the nonconference portion of its 2012 schedule undefeated when the Crimson Tide welcome Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse Maryland (3-1-1) to the Alabama Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.
LAST TIME OUT
Alabama won both of its matches this past weekend in absolutely dominating fashion, as they outshot the opposition, 66-17 in the two games while putting up 12 goals. On Friday night against South Alabama, the Crimson Tide put up nine goals, including seven in the second half, to blow out the Jaguars, 9-0. Freshman Katie Bourgeois scored four times, including the game’s first goal just two minutes into the match. Junior Molly Atherton had a pair of goals and an assist, and the Crimson Tide outshot the Jaguars, 36-7, including an 18-5 advantage in shots on goal and 12-1 on corner kicks. Alabama followed that up with a dominating 3-0 victory over Mercer at home on Sunday afternoon. Once again, the Crimson Tide started early, as sophomore Theresa Diederich stole a pass and chipped the goalkeeper just over five minutes in to get the Tide going. Sophomore Pia Rijsdijk then took over, as she ran onto a through ball ten minutes later and calmly finished it, putting Alabama ahead, 2-0. After dominating possession and the box score, Alabama finally put a third goal in, as Rijsdijk got behind the defense and slotted a shot home. Alabama outshot Mercer, 30-10, putting seven on frame. Junior goalkeeper Shelby Church started both games on the weekend, while freshman Emily Rusk earned playing time as well.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama’s freshman forward, Katie Bourgeois has not missed a beat in her transition from high school to the college ranks. In the first five matches this season, all starts, Bourgeois leads Alabama with 14 points on six goals and two assists. Even better, Bourgeois is efficient on her shots. She has only taken 14 on the year, and scored on six of them, for a .462 shooting percentage. In addition, eight of her 14 shots have been on target for a .615 shots on goal percentage.
The Terrapins of Maryland enter Thursday’s contest with Alabama sporting a 3-1-1 record after sweeping a pair of matches over the weekend. On Friday night, Maryland fell behind early to George Mason but scored three unanswered goals to win, 3-1. On Sunday afternoon, the Terrapins dominated Towson, 5-0, in their 2012 home opener. Maryland lost 11 seniors off of last year’s NCAA Tournament team that advanced to the Sweet 16 and finished the year ranked 11th, but brought in an 11-member recruiting class that many experts pegged as a top five class. Maryland’s lone loss on the year, a 1-0 defeat at Ohio State, was the Terrapins first regular season nonconference loss since 2008. Maryland is led by senior midfielder Becky Kaplan, who has eight points on four goals, and freshman midfielder Ashley Spivey, who has six points on two goals and two assists. In goal, the Terrapins are led by freshman Rachelle Beanlands, who has 10 saves and earned all three wins on the year while posting 0.55 goals against average. Maryland is led by head coach Jonathan Morgan, who is in his first year at the helm of the program. A longtime Maryland assistant, Morgan took over when former head coach Brian Pensky left to take over at Tennessee.
Maryland: The two teams have met just once before, a 2-1 Alabama victory in November 1998 that helped Alabama win the LSU Invitational. Alabama used an 82nd minute penalty kick to earn the victory.
Alabama’s 5-0-0 start is the best start for the Crimson Tide in the five years under head coach Todd Bramble, and is tied for first in school history for the first five games of the season. The 1994 and 2001 teams both started with a perfect record through five games as well. The best start in school history came in the 1994 season as the Tide raced out to a 7-0-0 mark.
Alabama is second in the SEC in total shots (124), though they have played one fewer match than the leaders. Alabama does lead the conference in shots per game (24.80) and is second in total points (56). UA is second in goals scored (19) and leads the SEC with 3.8 goals per game. It’s not all offense though, as Alabama doesn’t give up goals either. The Crimson Tide have given up the fewest goals in the conference (1) and are second in goals against average (0.20) and first in shutouts (4). Junior Molly Atherton is tied for fourth in shots (22) and shots per game (4.40) and is tied for eighth with eight points on the year. Freshman Katie Bourgeois is second with 14 points and leads the conference in points per game (2.80), goals (6), and goals per game (1.20). Junior Ariel Armijo, despite not starting all year, is second in the SEC with four assists in five games. Junior goalkeeper Shelby Church leads the conference in save percentage (.923) and is third with a 0.22 goals against average.
The Crimson Tide enters the weekend with a 108-56-11 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. UA is 2-0 in 2012.
Alabama has enjoyed success in nonconference matches under head coach Todd Bramble. In the midst of year five under Bramble, the Tide sports a 23-11-2 nonconference record. In the four completed seasons, Alabama has earned five or more wins three times, while earning four in 2009. After defeating Mercer on Sunday, Alabama has gone 5-0-0 against nonconference opponents this season as well. UA has sported a winning record under its current manager every season against non-conference opponents.
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.
A LOT OF OFFENSE
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. In 2012 Alabama is off to another offensive season, entering the weekend with 19 goals. Of the 19 goals, 13 have been scored by underclassmen.
LAST 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.
SEC PRESEASON COACHES POLL
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 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 TO CARRY ALABAMA SOCCER
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 have the weekend off as they prepare for Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide will travel to Knoxville for the conference opener against Tennessee on Friday, Sept. 14 with first kick coming at 6 p.m. CT.