BIRMINGHAM The University of Alabama soccer team (2-3-0) lost an overtime affair to No. 14 regionally-ranked Kansas Friday night on the opening day of action at the UAB Nike Classic.
Kansas’ Emily Strinden scored the golden goal at 93:35 of the first overtime period to give the Jayhawks the 2-1 victory.
The goal was the result of a corner kick from Monica Dolinsky that ricocheted off Afton Sauer to Striden, who finished off the play.
“This was one heck of a game to be involved in,” Alabama head coach Don Staley said. “Both teams battled evenly and it’s a shame to have to lose the way we did, but I’m proud of the effort our team gave tonight. I give a great deal of credit to Kansas for capitalizing on a restart opportunity because that’s what good teams do.”
Despite the loss, Alabama seemed to carry the momentum from last weekend’s tournament championship into Friday night’s game. Kara Gudmens matched her career high of eight saves in the contest while Kelsey King scored her first career goal and for the third consecutive game the Alabama defense killed a number of attacks.
“Our defense, even though we gave up two goals, played a really good game,” Staley said. “I also thought that Kailey Corken, who played the entire game, was outstanding for us.”
Corken came close to helping Alabama win the game in the early moments of the overtime period. She flicked a ball over the Kansas defense to a sprinting Kelsey King, who gained control of the ball, dribbled around a defender and fired a shot that missed just wide of the goal. Strinden ended the game moments later.
Corken created a quality look at the net herself late in the second half, but KU goalkeeper Julie Hanley was there for the save.
While the second half was played to a stalemate, the game’s opening 20:00 minutes was filled with plenty of action. Kansas’ Dolinsky opened up the scoring at 7:33 when she fired a shot from the middle of the field 25 yards out and beat Gudmens to the top right corner.
But it took Alabama just 1:14 to respond. King evened the game when she gathered a cross from Deegan on the left wing, eluded a defender and found the top right corner of the goal.
Later in the first half, Deegan nearly put Alabama on top with an open look from inside the six-yard box, but Hanley came up big again for Kansas with a diving save to keep the game tied.
“We had a couple of opportunities to cash in,” Staley said. “We didn’t and hopefully in games to come we will. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in a loss like this, but it’s still tough. We’ll fight another day and we know we’ll have our hands full with UAB on Sunday.”
Alabama will return to Birmingham Sunday to take on UAB at 2 p.m. The game will be played on the UAB campus at West Campus Field.