Soccer to Open Home Portion of SEC Slate



Sept. 20, 2012

Match 9 |  Alabama (5-2-1, 0-1-1 SEC) vs. Georgia (5-3-1, 1-0-1 SEC)
Date Friday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. CT
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | Free
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderGeorgia Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Series Record 3-11-1 | Last Meeting, UA 2 - UGA 2 | Oct. 23, 2011
Promotions Promotions Schedule
Match 10 |  Alabama (5-2-1, 0-1-1 SEC) vs. Mississippi (8-1-0, 1-1-0 SEC)
Date Sunday, Sept. 23, 1 p.m. CT
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | Free
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderMississippi Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Series Record 7-11-0 | Last Meeting, UM 3 - UA 0 | Oct. 2, 2011
Promotions Promotions Schedule

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team (5-2-1, 0-1-1 SEC) looks to return to winning form this weekend as the Crimson Tide welcome the Georgia Bulldogs (5-3-1, 1-0-1 SEC) and the Mississippi Rebels (8-1-0, 1-1-0 SEC) to the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Southeastern Conference action. Alabama and Georgia will go head-to-head on Friday night, with kickoff coming at 7 p.m. The Crimson Tide returns to action on Sunday, as it goes up against the Rebels at 1 p.m.

Alabama opened up SEC play with two tough road matches. On Friday night, UA traveled to Knoxville to face off against No. 23 Tennessee. Despite scoring early, the Crimson Tide could not hold off the Volunteer attack, giving up a goal five minutes later. The two teams battled to overtime, but Tennessee was able to tap in a deflection in the 97th minute to deal Alabama its second consecutive loss. Alabama opened the scoring in the 12th minute, with sophomore Laura Lee Smith scoring her first goal of the year with a header on a Merel Van Dongen corner kick. Junior goalkeeper Shelby Church had a career-high eight saves. On Sunday, the Crimson Tide traveled to LSU in a nationally televised match up. For the second consecutive game, Alabama went to overtime, as they battled LSU to a 1-1 draw. After the Tigers scored just before halftime, sophomore Pia Rijsdijk equalized for the Crimson Tide, taking a Theresa Diederich pass and burying a shot for her fourth goal of the year. Alabama outshot LSU, 27-9, but could not find the game winner.

Alabama’s sophomore forward Pia Rijsdijk, after finishing second on the team with five goals in 2011 and setting a school record for shots, already has four goals in 2012. On Sunday, she scored the tying goal against LSU and took only three shots in the contest, putting two on goal. Through eight games, Rijsdijk has taken only 23 shots, but has put 11 on frame. If Rijsdijk stays efficient on the offensive end, look for Alabama to keep up its scoring prowess, as they have scored 22 goals on the year and have a .411 shot on goal percentage through eight games.

Georgia enters Friday’s match with a 5-3-1 overall record in 2012 and are coming off an opening weekend in SEC play in which they earned four out of a possible six points with a win and a tie. On Friday night, Georgia played Vanderbilt to a 0-0 tie, but Georgia put up 26 shots, forcing Vanderbilt to make 13 saves on the night while holding Vandy to just two shots on target. On Sunday afternoon, the Bulldogs bounced back to defeat Arkansas, 2-0, behind Meghan Gibbons’ first two goals of the season in the 48th minute and then in the 50th minute. Georgia is led by redshirt freshman midfielder Bella Hartley, who leads the Bulldogs with eight points on four goals. Gibbons has four points on two goals, in addition to leading UGA with 24 shots on the year. Georgia is led in goal by senior Ashley Baker, who has recorded 40 saves on the year and has a 0.71 goals against average with three shutouts. Georgia is led by head coach Steve Holeman, who is in his third year in charge of the Bulldogs after spending the previous 15 seasons at the helm of Mississippi. He has gone 28-14-7 in his three seasons in Athens and led the 2011 squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Rebels of Mississippi enter the weekend ranked No. 22 in the country and are 8-1 on the year. This past weekend saw the Rebels split a pair of SEC matches. On Friday night, Ole Miss set a school record for consecutive wins to start a season when they defeated Arkansas, 4-1 to move to 8-0 on the year. Juniors Rafaelle Souza and Mandy McCalla each scored a pair of goals on the night for the Rebels. On Sunday afternoon, however, No. 10 Texas A&M came to Oxford and knocked off Mississippi, 4-0, dealing the Rebels their first loss in 2012. Mississippi outshot the Aggies, 14-11, but could not create any solid scoring chances. Souza and McCalla lead the Rebels with 21 points on the year, as both have scored nine goals and have three assists. The two juniors have also combined for 78 shots on the season. The Rebels are led in goal by sophomore Kelly McCormick, who has a 1.00 goals against average and has 27 saves with three shutouts on the year. Mississippi is led by head coach Matt Mott, who has gone 23-20-5 in his three seasons in charge of the Rebels.

Georgia: Georgia has dominated the series against Alabama, holding an 11-3-1 advantage. UA has not won since a 3-1 victory in 2004. Last season saw Alabama earn a 2-2 draw against UGA, as the Crimson Tide had to come from behind twice to earn the crucial late season point against the Bulldogs. 

Mississippi: The two teams have faced off 18 times overall, with Mississippi holding an 11-7 lead in the series. Last season, the Rebels used two goals from Rafaelle Souza to knock off the Tide, 3-0. Alabama was outshot on the day 27-3. The Tide won the last meeting in Tuscaloosa, 2-0.

On Friday night, the first 250 kids 12 and under will receive a free hot dog and drink. Big Al’s Kids Club Night #1. Post-match autograph session. UA Family Weekend. On Sunday, UA Family Weekend.

Alabama’s 5-0-0 start was 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. The 5-1 nonconference record was the best since 2005 entering conference play.

The Alabama soccer team, after playing well late in 2011 to surge into the NCAA Tournament, including home wins over Tennessee and Auburn, has seen a boom in attendance at the Alabama Soccer Stadium. Through three home games, Alabama has had two games that have seen top 10 attendance records, including a school-record crowd of 1,630 people against Maryland and 1,266 fans against Samford, good for third all-time. The Crimson Tide is fourth in the Southeastern Conference in attendance, averaging 1,082 fans a game.

Alabama is near the top of several categories in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide is third overall in total shots (175) and second in points (66), despite playing one fewer game than the teams ahead of them.  UA is second in goals (22) and goals per game (2.75), trailing Ole Miss in both categories but have played one fewer game. Alabama is third in assists (22) and is second in assists per game (2.75).

Junior Molly Atherton is sixth in the conference with 33 shots and fourth in shots per game, with 4.12 shots per contest. Freshman forward Katie Bourgeois is tied for third in points, with 14, while sophomores Theresa Diederich and Pia Rijsdijk are tied for ninth with nine points apiece. Bourgeois is third overall in points per game (1.75) and tied for third with six goals on the year. Her six goals in eight matches tie her for third in the conference in goals per game (0.75). Ariel Armijo and Meghan Duffy, despite starting a combined three games, are tied for third in assists, with four apiece. Armijo leads the conference with 0.67 assists per game. Bourgeois and Diederich are tied for fourth with two game winning goals apiece.

Alabama is tied for eighth nationally in scoring per game, averaging 2.75 goals per contest.

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 23-12-2 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 5-1-0 against nonconference opponents this season as well. UA has sported a winning record under its current manager every season against non-conference opponents.

2012: 5-1-0
: 6-4-1
2010: 5-2-0
2009: 4-3-0
2008: 5-2-1

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.

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 22 goals. Of the 22 goals, 16 have been scored by underclassmen.

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.

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.

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-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 begin a four-game conference road trip next weekend, as they travel to Vanderbilt on Friday, Sept. 28, for a 7 p.m. CT kick, and then to Kentucky on Sept. 30, for an 11 a.m. start.