Sept. 12, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will play its final non-conference games of the season with a pair of contests this weekend. The Crimson Tide will first travel to take on the Memphis Tigers on Friday, before returning home to face in-state rival UAB on Sunday at the Alabama Soccer Complex. Both contests will kick off at 7 p.m. CT.
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Fans can watch/follow this weekend's matches via the below outlets:
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Friday, Sept. 13: Alabama at Memphis 7 p.m. (Mike Rose Complex | Memphis, Tenn.)
Sunday, Sept. 15: UAB at Alabama 7 p.m. (Alabama Soccer Complex | Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
- Faith and Family Night
- International Student Night
Friday's contest at Memphis will mark the seventh time in program history that Alabama has squared off on the pitch against the Tigers. Memphis holds a 4-1-1 all-time lead in the series and have won three straight games over the Crimson Tide. UA is 1-1-1 when playing the Tigers in Memphis. The last meeting between the two teams came on Aug. 26, 2011, when Memphis captured a 1-0 win in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama and UAB will meet for the 14th time in program history - the most of any non-conference team in program history. The Blazers own a 7-5-1 edge in the all-time series, however, the Crimson Tide has won three straight games in the series, including a 4-0 win at UAB last year. This year's match-up marks the fifth consecutive year the teams will meet on the pitch.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook
Alabama comes into this weekend's games with a 1-4 record on the season, having lost three straight games. Last weekend at the Denver Invitational, the Crimson Tide dropped a pair of games to undefeated teams, falling 1-0 in overtime to Colorado on Friday and 2-0 to No. 16 and tournament-host Denver on Sunday.
The Crimson Tide has been outscored 9-3 through its five games this season. Sophomore midfielder Merel Van Dongen has scored UA's three goals on the year, while true freshman Mia Jahr leads the squad with a pair of assists.
Sophomore forward Katie Bourgeois, the team's leading scorer from a year ago, made her return to the lineup last weekend, playing in her first two games of the season. The Katy, Texas, native suffered a knee injury last spring, which forced her to miss the first three games of the 2013 season.
Alabama returns 12 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's team.
The team boasts only four seniors in 2013, while 15 members of the squad are either sophomores (5) or freshmen (10).
The Crimson Tide returns its top six scorers from last season in terms of points and goals scored. Highlighting the list of returning scorers is junior Pia Rijsdijk (7g, 6a/20 pts), sophomore Katie Bourgeois (8g, 3a/19 pts), senior Molly Atherton (6g, 4a/16 pts) and junior Theresa Diederich (7g, 1a/15 pts).
Other top scorers returning include sophomore Merel Van Dongen (3g, 3a/9 pts) and senior Kendal Khanna (1g, 5a/7 pts).
Alabama finished the 2012 season with a school record 357 total shots on the season. Furthermore, UA's 155 shots on goal (3rd), 1.95 goals per game average (7th) and 37 goals (9th) all rank among the top-10 in program lore.
SCOUTING FRIDAY'S OPPONENT: MEMPHIS TIGERS
Memphis comes into Friday night's contest sporting a 4-1 record on the season, with the lone loss coming against SEC foe Vanderbilt on Aug. 30. The Tigers played just one match last weekend, defeating Western Kentucky, 1-0, in Bowling Green, Ky.
Leading the offensive attack are a pair of forwards in freshman Valerie Sanderson and senior Christabel Oduro. The duo has combined for seven of the Tigers' nine goals and three of the four game-winning markers on the season. Sanderson leads the team in goals (4) and shots (14), while Sanderson is second on the squad in goals (3), assists (2) and shots (12) and leads Memphis with two game-winning goals.
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Atkins has recorded a team-best three assists on the year.
Freshman goalkeeper Maryse Bard-Martel has played every minute in goal for Memphis this season. She has made 17 saves, while allowing only four goals for a 0.79 goals against average.
SCOUTING SUNDAY'S OPPONENT: UAB BLAZERS
UAB boasts a 5-1 record entering this weekend's games. The Blazers will travel to Coastal Carolina on Friday night before playing at Alabama on Sunday.
UAB will be riding a four-game winning streak heading into this weekend's action. Most recently, the Blazers captured a 6-2 win over Troy on Sept. 6 and a 3-2 win over South Alabama on Sept. 8. Both games were played in Birmingham, Ala.
The Blazers have had 11 different players score this season. Sophomore Paige Hanks is the team's leading goal scorer with three goals on the year. She also has tallied two assists. Five Blazers are tied for second on the squad in goals, each with two on the season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Angelia Jimenez has played all but 45 minutes in the net this season for UAB. She has a 1.98 goals against average, making 15 saves on the year.
FACING STIFF COMPETITION
Alabama is 1-4 to start the 2013 season, but has faced some tough opposition through its first five matches.
Two of the Tide's opponents are currently ranked in the nation's top 25 (No. 7 Wake Forest and No. 16 Denver), while a third team (Colorado) is receiving votes to be ranked. Through games played by Sept. 12, three of Alabama's five opponents it has played (Wake Forest - 5-0-0, Colorado - 6-0-0 and Denver - 6-0-0) are undefeated on the season.
Moreover, Alabama plays both Memphis (4-1) and UAB (5-1) this weekend, who have gone a combined 9-2 entering this weekend's competition.
The combined record of the Tide's opposition through the first five matches is 19-6-2 (.741).
Emily Rusk SHINES IN THE NET
Alabama sophomore goalkeeper Emily Rusk had a night for the record books in the 1-0 overtime loss to Colorado on Sept. 6 in the opening game of the Denver Invitational.
Rusk, making her second career start, had 19 saves on the night, which were the second-most stops in a game in program history. Amy Pseja holds the record when she made 24 saves vs. Arkansas on Sept. 25, 1994.
Rusk also recorded seven stops in the loss to Denver and finished the tournament with 26 saves in the two contests.
She enters this weekend leading the SEC with 10.00 saves per game.
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
The Alabama soccer team dropped both of its contests at the 2013 Denver Invitational over the weekend, both coming against undefeated teams.
The Crimson Tide opened the tournament on Friday against Colorado (6-0-0), falling 1-0 in overtime. UA also dropped a 2-0 decision to 20th-ranked and tournament host Denver (6-0-0) on Sunday.
CAPTURING A SCHOOL RECORD
With her three shots against Mercer on Sept. 1, senior Molly Atherton captured the school record for total shots in a career with 165. In doing so, she passed the former record of 164 career shots, which was held by Melissa McGee (1997-2000). Athreton's nine shots this season rank second on the team.
Atherton recorded 61 shots in 2012, which ranks fifth in program history, while her 55 shots in 2011 is sixth-most in a season.
Atherton has started 63 of the 64 contests in her collegiate career.