TUSCALOOSA After a four-game homestand, the University of Alabama soccer team (4-6-0, 0-2-0) will hit the road this weekend for games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
The Crimson Tide will take on Vanderbilt (5-1-4, 1-0-1) Friday night at 7 p.m. ct. in Nashville, Tennessee. Sunday Alabama will play Kentucky (5-4-1, 0-1-0) in Lexington at 11 a.m. ct.
Alabama posted a 2-2-0 record during its first homestand of the season and will look to get back on the winning side of things this weekend. The Crimson Tide opened up conference play last weekend with losses to South Carolina and No. 20 Florida.
“We have to play better this weekend defensively and we have to work harder off the ball to open up some passing lanes for us,” Alabama head coach Don Staley said.
Playing on the road is nothing new for this Alabama team. The Tide opened up the season by playing six consecutive games away from Tuscaloosa and won the Memphis Nike Classic in early September. Alabama is 1-1 this season when playing on its opponent’s home field.
Friday’s game with Vanderbilt will be the third game of the season for Alabama in Nashville after it opened the season at the Commodore Classic. Vanderbilt is currently ranked fifth in the Central Region by the NSCAA, but both teams will enter the game with an identical goals per game average of 1.30 through 10 games.
In each of the last three seasons Alabama and Vanderbilt have matched-up in thrillers. Last season VU’s Sarah Dennis scored in the 66th minute to give the Commodores a 1-0 win. In 2004 Vanderbilt scored an overtime goal for another 1-0 victory and in 2003 the two teams played to a 0-0 tie.
Sunday’s game will match up two of the SEC’s longest tenured coaches when the Tide’s Don Staley meets Kentucky’s Warren Lipka. A year ago the two battled to a 1-1 tie in Tuscaloosa.
The Wildcats are currently riding a three-match winless streak but still rank third in the SEC in goals against average thanks to senior goalkeeper Anne Ogundele, who has already recorded five shutouts this season.
“In this league, any team is capable of winning on any day,” Staley said, “but we can’t make some of the mistakes we made last week and not expect teams to capitalize on them.”
Fans can keep up with all the action this weekend via live stats at www.rolltide.com.