Soccer Stays on the Road for Two Crucial SEC Matches



Oct. 4, 2012

Match 13 |  Alabama (7-3-2, 2-2-2 SEC) at #5 Texas A&M (11-1-1, 5-0-1 SEC)
Date Friday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. CT
Location College Station, Texas | Ellis Field  (3,500)
Tickets General Admission | $8
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderTexas A&M Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream Aggies All Access
Series Record 1-2 | Last Meeting, A&M 3 - UA 1 | Nov. 11, 1998
Match 14 |  Alabama (7-3-2, 2-2-2 SEC) at Arkansas (5-6-1, 2-3-1 SEC)
Date Sunday, Oct. 7, 1 p.m. CT
Location Fayetteville, Ark. | Razorback Field (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | $4
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderArkansas Notes
Video Stream Arkansas All Access
Series Record 12-5-2 | Last Meeting, UA 3 - ARK 0 | Oct. 14, 2011
The Last Meeting
Texas A&M3
November 11, 1998
College Station, Texas
The Last Meeting
October 14, 2011
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Soccer Returns to Form with 3-0 Shutout Over Arkansas
The Alabama soccer team bounced back in a big way as it downed Arkansas, 3-0, Friday night at the Alabama Soccer Stadium. With the win, the Crimson Tide improve to 7-6-2 overall and 2-4-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team (7-3-2, 2-2-2 SEC) will stay on the road for two more Southeastern Conference matches this weekend. The Crimson Tide will go to College Station, Texas, to play SEC newcomer and fifth-ranked Texas A&M (11-1-1, 5-0-1 SEC) on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. UA will then travel to Arkansas (5-6-1, 2-3-1 SEC) to face off against the Razorbacks on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m.

Alabama opened up a four-game road trip in conference play in dramatic style, earning four out of a possible six points on the weekend to stay in the thick of the SEC race. The Crimson Tide opened up the weekend with an exciting 3-3 tie against Vanderbilt in a game that saw UA battle back from a 3-1 deficit with less than 30 minutes remaining. After giving up an early goal, the Tide bounced back when junior Molly Atherton scored on a long-range effort to even the scoring up just under halfway through the first half. However, the Commodores scored goals on either side of halftime to take a 3-1 lead. Alabama was not to be denied, as sophomore Theresa Diederich took a Kendall Khanna cross in the 68th minute and placed it past the goalie for her fifth goal of the year. Just nine minutes later, Atherton scored her second goal of the game and sixth on the year on another rocket from long-range to tie the game. Alabama held off a furious Vanderbilt rally in the first overtime, and nearly won the game in the second overtime, but the Commodores’ Alexa Levick made 11 saves on the night to keep it tied. On Sunday, Alabama went to Lexington and defeated Kentucky, 2-1, in overtime to earn a pivotal win. Diederich opened the scoring for Alabama, scoring off of a Merel Van Dongen corner kick, to put UA up 1-0. Kentucky managed to tie the game and send it to overtime, marking the fourth time in six SEC matches that Alabama had to play the extra sessions. The Tide didn’t take long to end the game; however, as sophomore Pia Rijsdijk took a pass from Van Dongen in the box and tallied her fifth goal of the year to provide the win.

Alabama junior midfielder Molly Atherton took a career-high 55 shots last season, good for fifth most in school history. However, only 14 were on target and she only scored four goals in the 22 games she played. This season, through 12 games, Atherton leads the team with 44 shots, with 17 on frame, but it’s what she is doing with the shots that have made the difference for Alabama. Atherton is second on the team with 14 points on six goals and two assists, and her pair of goals for UA against Vanderbilt helped propel the Tide to a crucial point in the standings. Look for Atherton to keep putting up shots, but her improved scoring prowess is a big reason Alabama is far more improved on the offensive end and in the win column.

A&M enters Friday’s match ranked fifth in the country and atop the SEC standings at 11-1-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the SEC. The Aggies have an 11-game unbeaten streak entering their match against Alabama as well. This past weekend, A&M saw their seven-game shutout streak and 747 consecutive scoreless minutes snapped in a 2-2 draw against Kentucky in Lexington. A&M scored a goal in the 84th minute to earn the draw. The Aggies then traveled to Starkville to play Mississippi State and came away with a 2-0 win, putting them atop the overall SEC standings in their inaugural year in the conference. Texas A&M is led by sophomore forward Annie Kunz, who has 15 points on seven goals and an assist. Fellow sophomore Kelley Monogue has 12 points on six goals, while sophomore Meghan Streight has 10 points on two goals and six assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Day leads A&M with nine shutouts in 13 starts and has allowed just five goals on the year, a 0.38 goals against average. Day has 42 saves on the 2012 campaign. A&M returned eight starters from last year’s Big 12 Championship team, and has made the NCAA Tournament in 17 consecutive seasons. The Aggies are led by head coach G. Guerrieri, who has led A&M since the program started and has posted a 330-97-24 record in his 20 years in charge.

The Razorbacks of Arkansas enter Sunday’s match against Alabama with a 5-6-1 overall record and a 2-3-1 mark in the SEC. Arkansas is coming off a tough weekend in which they faced off against two top 20 opponents on the road, splitting the pair of matches. Arkansas went to Tennessee on Friday and won, 1-0, behind a goal from Allie Chandler, making it the first time the program has even defeated the Volunteers.  The Razorbacks then traveled to Florida to play the 24th-ranked Gators, and gave up three first half goals in a 4-0 loss. The Razorbacks are led by freshman forward Lindsey Mayo, who has six points on three goals. Arkansas has scored just 10 goals on the year. Sophomore goalkeeper Sam Wolf has started the past two games for the Razorbacks, earning the shutout in the win over Tennessee in the process. Head coach Colby Hale is in his first season in charge of the Razorbacks.

Texas A&M: Alabama and A&M have faced off three times, with the Aggies holding a 2-1 series lead. The two teams last met in the 1998 NCAA Tournament in College Station, with A&M winning, 3-1, to advance to the second round. Alabama is 1-1 in College Station, as they won the first meeting between the two teams in 1995, 3-1. 

Arkansas: The two teams will play each other for the 20th time on Sunday, as Alabama leads the series 12-5-2. The Crimson Tide is on a five-game unbeaten streak in the series, with a tie in 2007 breaking up the four wins for Alabama in that span. Last year, Alabama defeated Arkansas, 3-0, in Tuscaloosa, behind two goals from Molly Atherton and a goal and an assist from Pia Rijsdijk.

Alabama has played a lot of minutes during this conference season, already playing in four overtime matches in just six league contests. In those overtime games, the Crimson Tide is 1-1-2, earning its first win in extra time this past weekend against Kentucky. UA played in four total overtime matches last season and five in 2010. UA was 0-1-3 last year and 1-2-2 in 2010.

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 12 games in 2012, Alabama has already scored 29 goals. 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 2.42 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 third in total shots (242) through 10 games and second in shots per game (20.17). UA is second in total goals (29), as well as second in total points (86) and points per game (7.17). The 29 goals through 12 games are good for second in the conference for goals per game (2.42), as well as second in assists (28) and tops in assists per game (2.33).

Junior Molly Atherton is fifth in the conference in total shots, with 44 shots through 12 matches, and her 3.67 shots per game is good for fourth in the SEC. Freshman Katie Bourgeois is fourth in the SEC in points with 16, while teammates Pia Rijsdijk and Atherton are sixth with 14 points. Bourgeois is third in points per game (1.33), while Rijsdijk and Atherton are sixth (1.17). Bourgeois is third in the SEC with seven goals, and her seven goals in 12 games (0.58) are good for third as well. Atherton’s six goals are tied for sixth in the conference. Ariel Armijo’s 0.50 assists per game are tied for second in the SEC.

Alabama is tied for 23rd nationally in scoring per game, averaging 2.42 goals per contest.

Alabama is currently ranked 49th in the latest RPI rankings, a drop of one spot from last week, and will have played eight teams currently in the top 50 by the end of the season, with seven Southeastern Conference teams in the top 50, not counting the Crimson Tide. Alabama also received a vote in the NSCAA Coaches Poll this week.

With the four-match road trip, the Crimson Tide has played the majority of its matches on the road this season, already playing in seven games away from Tuscaloosa with two more slated for this weekend. Alabama is 4-1-2 on the road, its most wins away from the Alabama Soccer Complex since 2002. The Tide has outscored its opponents, 21-7 on the road, averaging three goals per match. Junior Molly Atherton and freshman Katie Bourgeois lead the team in hostile territory with 11 points on five goals and one assist apiece.

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 29 goals. Of the 29 goals, 20 have been scored by underclassmen.

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 return to the friendly confines of the Alabama Soccer Stadium for four SEC matches, starting next weekend. On Friday, Oct. 12, Alabama welcomes Mississippi State, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 14, UA will go head-to-head against SEC newcomer Missouri, with first kick starting at 1 p.m.