Soccer Hits the Road for a Four Game Conference Swing



Sept. 27, 2012

Match 11 |  Alabama (6-3-1, 1-2-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (4-4-3, 1-1-2 SEC)
Date Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. CT
Location Nashville, Tenn. | Vanderbilt Soccer Complex (2,400)
Tickets General Admission | $5
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Vanderbilt Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream Vanderbilt All Access
Series Record 3-13-3 | Last Meeting, UA 2 - VU 0 | Sept. 23, 2011
Match 12 |  Alabama (6-3-1, 1-2-1 SEC) at #18 Kentucky (8-2-0, 3-1-0 SEC)
Date Sunday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. CT
Location Lexington, Ky. | UK Soccer Complex (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | $5
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderKentucky Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream Kentucky All Access
Series Record 4-10-1 | Last Meeting, UK 4 - UA 1 | Sept. 25, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team (6-3-1, 1-2-1 SEC) will start a crucial four-game conference road trip, with two matches this weekend. The Crimson Tide starts the trip in Nashville, as they face off against the Vanderbilt Commodores. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT, at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex on Friday, Sept. 28. Alabama then moves on against the No. 18 ranked Kentucky Wildcats in a Sunday morning showdown. The Crimson Tide and Wildcats will kickoff at 11 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Alabama returned to the Alabama Soccer Stadium and split a pair of matches against Georgia and Mississippi over the weekend. On Friday night, after Alabama and Georgia played a scoreless first half, the Crimson Tide jumped out with two goals in the first three minutes of the second half to knock off Georgia, 2-1, for their first win over the Bulldogs since 2004. Sophomore Pia Rijsdijk played through balls on consecutive possessions to Katie Bourgeois and Molly Atherton, both of whom calmly tapped their shots to the back post to put the Tide up 2-0. After Georgia pulled a goal back in the 55th minute, Alabama held off the Bulldogs for the remainder of the match to earn the victory. On Sunday afternoon, Alabama dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Mississippi, as both teams had a penalty kick opportunity, but the Rebels were the only ones to convert. Alabama earned a penalty kick early in the second half, but sophomore forward Theresa Diederich watched as Ole Miss keeper Kelly McCormick guessed wrong on the shot, but was able to get a glove on the shot to keep the game scoreless. Moments later, Ole Miss would get their own penalty kick, and Mandy McCalla would place it in the side netting, putting the Rebels up, 1-0. Alabama had numerous chances late in the game to equalize, but could not push a goal across.

Alabama freshman forward Katie Bourgeois hasn’t skipped a beat since stepping on the field this year, as she has started all 10 games up top and leads the team with 16 points on seven goals and two assists. Her point total through just 10 games is higher than any Crimson Tide player’s full season since Kailey Corken had 17 points on seven goals and three assists in 20 games in 2008, which was head coach Todd Bramble’s first season in charge. With nine regular season games remaining, Bourgeois could continue to set numerous freshman records.

Vanderbilt enters Friday’s match with a 4-4-3 overall record and 1-1-2 mark in the Southeastern Conference. This past weekend, the Commodores split a pair of games against Mississippi State and Missouri. On Friday night, Vanderbilt traveled to Starkville, Miss., and defeated the Bulldogs, 4-2, behind goals from four different players, including three underclassmen. On Sunday, Vandy traveled to No. 15 Missouri and fell to the Tigers, 2-0. Mizzou fired off 39 shots, compared to just six for Vanderbilt. Vandy is led by freshman forward Cheyna Williams, who has started all 11 matches and has 13 points on four goals and five assists, in addition to 43 shots, with 21 on frame. Senior midfielder Dana Schwartz has nine points on four goals and one assist. In goal, Vandy is led by sophomore Alexa Levick, who has 49 saves and a 1.15 goals against average with three shutouts on the year. Vanderbilt returns eight starters from last year’s squad, including SEC All-Freshman honoree Cherelle Jarrett. Vanderbilt is led by head coach Derek Greene, who has gone 12-15-3 in his two seasons in charge of the Commodores.

The Wildcats of Kentucky enter the weekend ranked 18th in the country with an 8-2-0 record overall and a 3-1-0 mark in the SEC. Before playing Alabama, Kentucky will face off against SEC newcomer Texas A&M on Friday. The Wildcats split a pair of matches this past weekend on the road against Arkansas and LSU. UK traveled to Arkansas on Friday night and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Razorbacks. On Sunday, UK defeated LSU in double overtime, 2-1, behind two goals from freshman Courtney Raetzman, who has scored four goals in her past four games and has 10 points in that stretch. Raetzman put a shot off the bottom of the crossbar and just over the goal line in the 106th minute for the win for the Wildcats. Raetzman leads the team in scoring with those 10 points, while sophomore defender Arin Gililand has 10 points on three goals and four assists. Junior Kayla King leads the Wildcats in goal, as she has recorded 20 saves and has a 1.08 goals against average and four shutouts. UK is led by head coach Jon Lipsitz, who has gone 36-26-8 in his four seasons in Lexington.

Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt has dominated the series against Alabama, leading the overall series 13-3-3. Alabama, however, defeated Vandy last season at the Alabama Soccer Stadium, 2-0. Molly Atherton scored her first career goal directly off of a corner kick, and freshman Pia Rijsdijk tapped home a rebound to put the game away late. Justine Bernier earned the shutout, making 10 saves in the process.  

Kentucky: The two teams have faced off 15 times, with Kentucky holding a 10-4-1 lead in the series. In last season’s match up, the Wildcats knocked off the Crimson Tide, 4-1, in Tuscaloosa, in a game that saw seven yellow cards and three red cards.

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 five home games, Alabama has had three games that have seen top 10 attendance records, including a school-record crowd of 1,630 people against Maryland,  1,266 fans against Samford, good for third all-time, and 1,102 fans against Georgia, good for ninth all-time. The Crimson Tide is fifth in the Southeastern Conference in attendance, averaging 982 fans a game.

Through 10 games in 2012, Alabama has already scored 24 goals on the year while allowing just eight. In Todd Bramble’s five years in charge of the Crimson Tide, only his 2008 team (25 goals in 20 games) and the 2011 team (33 goals in 22 games) have scored more during his tenure. Alabama is averaging 2.40 goals per game, which is the highest in the Bramble era, and if the season ended today, would be the highest since the 2007 season, when the team averaged 1.80 goals per game. Before that mark, the previous time that UA had a season average of more than two goals per contest was the 2005 season, when the team averaged 2.75 goals per game.

Alabama is near the top of several categories in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide is fourth in total shots (207) through 10 games and second in shots per game (20.7). UA is second in total goals (24), as well as second in total points (72) and points per game (7.2). The 24 goals through 10 games are good for second in the conference for goals per game (2.40), as well as second in assists per game (2.40). Alabama is behind Ole Miss in both of those categories, despite playing in one fewer game.

Junior Molly Atherton is sixth in the conference in total shots, with 37 shots through 10 matches, and her 3.70 shots per game is also good for sixth in the SEC. Freshman Katie Bourgeois is fourth in the SEC in points with 16, while fellow forward Pia Rijsdijk is eighth with 11 points. Bourgeois is third in points per game (1.60), while Rijsdijk is 10th (1.10). Bourgeois is third in the SEC with seven goals, and her seven goals in 10 games (0.70) are good for third as well. Ariel Armijo and Meghan Duffy are tied for sixth with four assists on the season, and Armijo’s four assists in seven matches (0.57) is second in the conference.

Alabama is tied for 25th nationally in scoring per game, averaging 2.40 goals per contest.

Alabama is currently ranked 48th in the latest RPI rankings and will have played seven teams currently in the top 50 by the end of the season, with six Southeastern Conference teams in the top 50, not counting the Crimson Tide.

The Crimson Tide enters the weekend with a 109-57-11 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 3-2 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 hot start offensively season, entering the weekend with 24 goals. Of the 24 goals, 17 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 stay on the road in SEC play, as they travel to face conference newcomer Texas A&M on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 7, UA will travel to Arkansas for a game that kicks off at 1 p.m.