TUSCALOOSA -- Despite a sluggish start Friday night, the Alabama soccer team (3-4-0) scored three times in the second half to defeat the Mercer Bears 3-0 in the 2006 home opener.
The win improves Alabama to 14-2 all-time in home openers where the Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 58-8.
Sophomore Kailey Corken scored the game-winning goal for Alabama at 54:59. Corken sent a lob from the left wing into the box that deflected off Mercer goalkeeper Jean Worts’ hand and inside the left post. The goal was the first of the season for Corken and was her first career game-winner.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Alabama head coach Don Staley said. “We just did not come to play in the first half. But Mercer is a good team and they continued to grind it out with us. We came out ready to play in the second half and for that I’m proud of these kids.”
Alabama started the game slow and entered the half tied at 0-0. UA only managed one shot-on-goal in the opening half and seemed a bit out of sync. Other than a Susie Beard shot that bounced off the left post, Alabama struggled to mount much of scoring threat.
However, UA came out of the gates quickly in the second half. In the 47th minute, Natalie Kohn hooked up with Corken on a give-and-go that resulted in a pair of shots-on-goal, but neither shot could get past Worts. Minutes later Corken’s goal opened up the floodgates.
At 75:30 Kelsey King stretched the Alabama lead to 2-0 when she found a seam in the Mercer defense and scored for the second time this season. Then at 78:33, Brittni Lally cleaned up a rebound off the post for the Tide’s third and final goal.
Alabama dominated the second half, out shooting Mercer 13-1 and collecting seven shots-on-goal. Meanwhile, the Tide defense kept Mercer off the attack and helped give Kara Gudmens her third shutout of the season. All three of Alabama’s wins this season have been shutouts.
UA will look to even its record on Sunday when it hosts Birmingham-Southern at the Alabama Soccer Stadium at 1 p.m. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive Alabama seat cushions.
The game can be heard in Tuscaloosa on 90.7 FM. Live stats will be available at www.rolltide.com