Sept. 25, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team (5-2-1) will dive into its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend with two matches on the road. The Crimson Tide will open the weekend at current SEC Eastern Division leader Vanderbilt (6-1-1) on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. Alabama is coming off a 1-0 win over Mississippi Valley State while the Commodores defeated UAB 4-1.
Who to Watch: Alabama senior midfielder Kailey Corken capped off non-conference play in impressive fashion. In the last three games the Cincinnati, Ohio native has recorded seven points on three goals and an assist. Corken struck twice in a 5-0 blowout over UTC and then tallied the game-winner at seven seconds left in regulation against Mississippi Valley State. The 5-7 midfielder handed out the game-winning assist against Wright State on Sept. 14. On the season Corken paces the squad with 11 points on five goals and an assist. The 11 points is just two shy of her single season best 13 points she set last year.
Last Time Out: Alabama continued its dominance at home by earning another shutout victory. The Crimson Tide blanked Mississippi Valley State to earn the Crimson Tide Classic title. Alabama used a goal from Kailey Corken that was set up by Kelsey King and Brooke Rogers with seven seconds left in regulation to earn the victory. The win marks the fifth at home for the Crimson Tide and also extends its consecutive scoreless streak at four matches.
Scouting Vanderbilt: The Commodores remain at home where they have yet to lose a contest this season after beating UAB 4-1 to close out its non-conference schedule. Vanderbilt is currently 6-1-1 overall and 3-0 at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. VU sits atop the SEC Eastern Division standings where it is percentage points ahead of South Carolina. On the season VU has scored 17 times while its opponents have found the back of the net eight times. At home, Vanderbilt has scored six times and allowed one goal. Leading the way for the Commodores offensively is senior midfielder Amy Wilcox. The senior paces the squad with eight points on three goals and two assists. Wilcox is followed by the seven points from Candace West and Molly Kinsella. West has tallied three goals and an assist while Kinsella has found the net twice and is tied for the team lead with three assists. In net, Rachel Bachtel leads the way with a 0.98 goals against average and 25 saves. The sophomore has posted three shutouts in eight starts.
Alabama vs. Vanderbilt: The Series Friday's meeting will mark the 16th time the two programs square off. The two squads are coming off a 1-1 double overtime draw in Tuscaloosa last season. The Crimson Tide has not had much success in Nashville as Vanderbilt sports a perfect 8-0 mark on its home field. The Commodores have out-scored the Crimson Tide 25-5 in Nashville. The last time the two teams played on the Vanderbilt campus, Alabama fell 3-1 on Sept. 29, 2006.
Shutout Record: Alabama has posted four straight shutouts which ties a school record. The Crimson Tide last posted four consecutive in 1987 and tallied three consecutive shutouts in 1994. Alabama started the streak with back-to-back 1-0 wins over Samford and Wright State and then added to it with a 5-0 drubbing of UTC and then a 1-0 blanking of Mississippi Valley State. UA has posted five straight at home which breaks a school record to start a season.
League Leaders: Alabama senior midfielder Kailey Corken currently leads the SEC in several categories. The Cincinnati, Ohio native is tied among all scorers with 11 points. Her five goals are also tied for the league lead. Corken ranks fourth in goals per game (0.62) and sixth in points per game (1.38). Sophomore forward Victoria Frederick is tied for sixth in assists with three and ranks tied for seventh with teammate Kelsey King with three assists. Junior goalkeeper Kara Gudmens checks in at third in saves per game (5.86) and fourth in saves (41). Gudmens also ranks fourth in shutouts (3), shutouts per game (0.43) and goals against average (0.89).
Alabama SEC Players of the Week: The Crimson Tide has had two players earn SEC weekly accolades thus far this season. Alabama junior goalkeeper Kara Gudmens posted back-to-back shutouts to lead Alabama to a perfect 2-0 weekend to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 15. Sophomore forward Victoria Frederick was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2. The forward earned the honor on the strength of six points on two goals and two assists in the first two matches of the season. The last time two members of the Tide nabbed the honor in the same season was in 2004 when Kylie Boyd and Gilian Kilburn garnered the accolades.
All-Tournament Teams: Alabama played in two consecutive tournaments to cap off the non-conference season. The Crimson Tide went undefeated over that span and was rewarded for its efforts. Alabama had four players earn UAB Nike Classic All-Tournament accolades. Sophomore forward Victoria Frederick was named the Co-MVP of the tournament. Joining Frederick on the team was junior defender Alex Butera, senior midfielder Jessica Deegan and junior forward Kelsey King. At the Crimson Tide Classic senior defender Colleen Posey and senior midfielder Kailey Corken were recognized while Deegan and King were repeat performers.
Home Sweet Home: Alabama has started off its 2008 home slate in impressive fashion as it has not allowed an opponent to score in its five home matches. The Crimson Tide opened its home slate with a 3-0 shutout victory over Jacksonville State on Aug. 31. Alabama goalkeepers Kara Gudmens and Karen Lansden combined to blank the Gamecocks. On Sept. 12, Gudmens held in-state rival Samford scoreless with her first shutout of 2008. Gudmens followed that up by blanking Wright State in double overtime on Sept. 14. UA then swept another weekend with shutouts over UTC (5-0) and Mississippi Valley State (1-0). Lansden earned her first shutout on the year against the Devilettes on Sept. 21. The Crimson Tide has out-scored the opposition 11-0 in Tuscaloosa. The five straight shutouts at home is an all-time best. In 1988 Alabama began its campaign with four straight shutout wins.
Next Time Out: Alabama will continue its SEC opening weekend on the road. The Crimson Tide will hop over to Lexington, Ky. to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats. The two teams will square off on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Noon at the UK Soccer Complex.