Sept. 26, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will play its Southeastern Conference home opener this weekend with a pair of games. The Tide will first welcome Vanderbilt on Friday at 7 p.m. CT. Alabama will then play its first televised match of the year (CSS) with home game against Tennessee on Sunday at 1 p.m.
FOLLOW THE TIDE
Fans can watch/follow this weekend's matches via the below outlets:
Listen: RollTide.com; 90.7 WVUA FM
TV: CSS/ESPN3 (Sunday's game only)
Melissa Lee (play-by-play) and Tori Watson (analyst) on the call
ALABAMA VS. VANDERBILT (FRIDAY AT 7 P.M.)
- Molly Atherton Senior Night
- Kid's Day: First 250 Kids in Attendance receive a FREE Hot Dog & Drink
- Girl Scout Day/Night: Special pre-game event for all Girl Scouts in Attendance
- Post-game Autographs by the team
ALABAMA VS. TENNESSEE (SUNDAY AT 1 P.M.)
- Shelby Church Senior Day
- Badges & Ladders: Police & Firefighters Play at Halftime
- Faith & Family Day
Alabama's 2-6 record on the year may be a little deceiving as it has played one of the strongest schedules in the nation. The Crimson Tide's eight opponents on the year have a combined record of 50-16-5 (.739).
Vanderbilt owns a 13-3-4 edge in the all-time series vs. Alabama. However, the Tide is 1-0-1 in the last two meetings against the Commodores. Two of Alabama's three wins in the series with Vanderbilt have come in Tuscaloosa (2-3-4 at home vs. Vanderbilt).
Tennessee leads the all-time series against Alabama with a 10-3-1 all-time record. However, the Tide beat the Volunteers in the last meeting at the Alabama Soccer Complex by a score of 1-0 (Oct. 20, 2011).
HOW TO FOLLOW ALABAMA SOCCER
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 Friday's match vs. Vanderbilt with a 2-6 record on the season and is 0-1 in Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 3-0 loss to then-No. 8 Florida last Friday in the league opener for both teams.
Despite having won just two of its first eight matches against some stellar competition, the Tide has an RPI of No. 88 in the nation according to the latest edition of the NCAA RPI. Alabama has faced three teams ranked among the top 25 and two others which are receiving votes.
Sophomore midfielder Merel Van Dongen has scored UA's four goals on the year, while true freshman Mia Jahr leads the squad with a pair of assists. Van Dongen will not be with the team as she is currently training with the Netherlands Women's National Team.
Alabama has struggled to find the back of the net, but is generating plenty of opportunities. The Tide has been outshot 126-113 by the opposition, however, has been outscored 18-4 on the campaign.
Alabama returns 12 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's team, including its top six scoring leaders.
The team boasts only four seniors in 2013, while 14 members of the squad are either sophomores (5) or freshmen (9).
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: VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Vanderbilt enters its SEC match-up at Alabama with a 3-4-2 mark on the season and an 0-1 mark in league play. The Commodores opened conference play with a 2-1 overtime loss to LSU in Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 21.
The Commodores come into Friday's match ranked third in the SEC in goals scored (22) and goals per game (2.44), but are last in the league in goals allowed (21).
Leading the offensive attack is sophomore forward Cheyna Williams, who tops the squad in goals (8) and points (18). She ranks fourth in the SEC in goals, points and shots (40). Joining her in the offensive attack is freshman forward Simone Charley, who has is second on the team with four goals, three assists and 11 points.
Freshman goalkeeper Olivia Liebman has played all but 90 minutes in the net for Vanderbilt this season. She brings a 2.19 goals against average into Friday's match and leads the SEC with 44 saves, while allowing 19 goals this year.
SCOUTING SUNDAY'S OPPONENT: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Tennessee comes into the weekend sporting a 6-2-1 overall record and a 1-0 mark in SEC play. The Volunteers, who will play at LSU on Friday night, defeated then-No. 20 Texas A&M, 1-0, in the league opener on Sept. 20. As a result, Tennessee is receiving votes to be ranked entering this week's matches.
Junior forward Hannah Wilkinson, who is a member of the New Zealand Women's National Team, leads Tennessee's offensive attack. Wilkinson enters the weekend topping her squad in goals (5), assists (3), points (13), shots (38) and shots on goal (16).
Senior forward Caroline Brown, who scored the game-winning goal at Texas A&M on an penalty kick, is second on the team with three goals - all three of which were game-winners.
The Tennessee defense is one of the stingiest in the league, as it ranks third in the SEC with a 0.44 goals against average. Goalkeeper Julie Eckel has played every minute in net for the Volunteers this season and has allowed just four goals while making 41 saves - second-most in the conference.
FACING STIFF COMPETITION
Alabama is 2-6 to start the 2013 season, but has faced some tough opposition through its eight matches on the year.
Three of the Tide's opponents are currently ranked in the nation's top 25 (No. 7 Florida, No. 9 Wake Forest and No. 19 Denver), while a two other teams (Colorado and Memphis) are receiving votes to be ranked.
As of Sept. 26, seven of Alabama's eight opponents it has played have a winning record, with six teams (Wake Forest, 7-1-1; Denver, 7-1-1; Colorado, 8-1; UAB, 7-2; Memphis, 7-2 and Florida, 7-1-1) having two or fewer losses on the year.
Alabama it ranked No. 88 in the NCAA RPI, which was released on Monday. The Tide is only one of three teams ranked among the top 100 that has a losing record (No. 86 Oklahoma State and No. 99 Vanderbilt).
The combined record of the Tide's opposition heading into the weekend is 50-16-5 (.739).
LAST TIME OUT
Alabama dropped a 3-0 decision at then-No. 8 Florida on Sept. 20 in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida's Savannah Jordan continued her hot start to the season, as the true freshman scored a pair of first-half goals, which marked her fourth multi-goal game of the year.
Alabama's best scoring chance came late in the first half when sophomore Katie Bourgeois slid a centering pass to freshman Mia Jahr right in front of net, but her shot sailed over the crossbar.
Any chance the Tide had of mounting a comeback was taken away when the Gators' Liz Slattery added an insurance goal in the 86th minute to result in the final score.