Oct. 10, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will play just one game this week, as it travels to Columbia, S.C., where it will square off against No. 13 South Carolina on Friday night at 7 pm. ET (6 p.m. CT).
FOLLOW THE TIDE
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South Carolina leads the all-time series against Alabama, 11-4, including a 6-1 record when playing the Crimson Tide in Columbia, S.C. The only time Alabama defeated the Gamecocks on their home pitch came in the first game of the series with the Tide secured a 5-4 victory on Oct. 24, 1997.
Alabama's 5-7 record on the year may be a little deceiving as it has played one of the strongest schedules in the nation. Seven of the Crimson Tide's 12 opponents are ranked among the top 55 teams in the latest RPI poll, released by the NCAA on Oct. 7. Alabama's opponents have a combined record of 89-43-14 (.658) on the year. Furthermore, the seven teams who have defeated the Tide are a combined 59-21-8 (.716).
Alabama had only four goals through its first eight games of the year, all of which were scored by the same player (Merel Van Dongen). However, in the four games since, the Tide has erupted for 13 goals that have been scored by seven different players.
Alabama's victory at then-No. 20 Georgia last Friday marked the first true road win over a ranked team since it defeated then-No. 22 San Diego State, 1-0, in San Diego, Calif.
LSU scored the first goal of the game on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the 48:37 mark en route to its 2-1 double-overtime win at Alabama. The goal was the first time Alabama trailed in just over 318 minutes - a span of three-and-a-half games.
Alabama comes into this weekend's Southeastern Conference match at South Carolina with a 5-7 record on the season and is tied for fifth in league play with nine points (3-2). The Crimson Tide split a pair of matches last weekend, winning on the road at No. 20 Georgia in overtime on Oct. 4 (3-2 in overtime) before falling at home against SEC leaders LSU in double overtime on Oct. 6 (2-1).
Despite owning a 5-7 overall record through its 12 matches on the year, the Tide has an RPI of No. 69 in the nation according to the latest edition of the NCAA RPI (released Oct. 7). Alabama has faced seven teams ranked among the top 55 in the RPI.
Junior forward Pia Rijsdijk, who was tabbed the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 30, leads the team with 10 points (4g, 2a) while junior midfielder Laura Lee Smith has scored three goals.
Sophomore midfielder Merel Van Dongen, who will miss the remainder of the 2013 season with an injury, is tied with Rijsdijk for the team lead with four goals on the year.
Sophomore Katie Bourgeois leads the squad with four assists on the season.
Goalkeeper Emily Rusk has earned the starting position in the net for the Crimson Tide, owning a 5-5 record on the year. She has a 2.02 goals against average and leads the SEC with 4.90 saves per game (49 stops in 10 games).
Alabama returns 12 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's team. The team boasts only four seniors in 2013, while 14 members of the squad are either sophomores (5) or freshmen (9).
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina comes into Friday's game boasting an impressive 11-1-1 record and is 4-1 in SEC play, three points ahead of the Crimson Tide in the league standings.
The Gamecocks defeated then-No. 8 Florida 2-1 on a goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the second overtime on Oct. 6, followed by another overtime victory in a 1-0 win at Tennessee last Sunday.
In the latest top-25 polls, South Carolina is ranked No. 13 by the NSCAA and No. 15 by Soccer America. The Gamecocks' RPI is at No. 8 in the country.
Sophomore forward Raina Johnson leads a balanced offensive attack with five goals and 11 points (5g, 1a) on the season. Senior midfielder Danielle Au is second with nine points on four goals and an assist, while freshman midfielder Chelsea Drennan has a team-leading six assists on the season
South Carolina has only allowed five goals through 13 games, while recording nine shutouts, including a 1-0 win over then-No. 7 Duke in the second game of the year. Junior goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo has played every minute in the net this season for USC. She leads the SEC in goals against average (0.37), shutouts (9), save percentage (.878) and shutouts per game (0.69).
ALABAMA STUNS NO. 20 GEORGIA IN OVERTIME
Senior Molly Atherton scored just 1:16 into the first overtime to lift the Alabama soccer team to a stunning 3-2 victory at Georgia on Oct. 4.
Junior forwards Pia Rijsdijk and Dani Herubin each added a goal and assist en route to the Tide's third consecutive win. Georgia came into the match with ranked No. 20 in the nation by Soccer Times, No. 24 by Soccer America and boasted a stellar RPI of No. 17 in the nation.
LSU SNAPS TIDE'S THREE-GAME WINNING STREAK
Alabama dropped a heartbreaker to LSU, falling 2-1 in double overtime on Oct. 6 at the Alabama Soccer Complex.
LSU's Summer Clarke scored both goals for her team, including the game-winner at the 101:48 mark to keep the Tigers in first place in the league standings.
The Tide's lone goal came from senior Sophie Campise off an assist from Katie Bourgeois.
Alabama controlled most of the run of play, outshooting the Tigers 18-7 for the game, including a 9-3 edge in corner kicks. Alabama had the first four shots in the overtimes prior to Clarke's goal.
OPEN THE FLOOD GATES
Through its first eight games, Alabama's offense struggled, scored only four goals in 113 shots, with one player (Merel Van Dongen) scoring all four of the Tide's goals.
However, in the last four games, the Tide has accounted for 13 goals on 56 shots, with seven different players finding the back of the net.
FACING STIFF COMPETITION
Alabama is 5-7 on the 2013 season and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference play. That record may be a little deceiving when breaking down the Crimson Tide schedule through its first 12 matches.
Seven of the Tide's opponents it has played this season are currently ranked among the NCAA RPI top 55 as of Oct. 7
Through Sunday's games, 10 of Alabama's 12 opponents it has played have a winning record, with seven teams owning at least eight wins on the year.
The combined record of the Tide's opposition thus far is 89-43-14 (.658).
RIJSDIJK EARNS NATIONAL ACCOLADES
Alabama junior forward Pia Rijsdijk earned numerous accolades for her performance on the pitch over the weekend of Sept. 27-29. On Oct. 1, the Numansdorp, Netherlands, native was selected to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week and CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime Performers Weekly Honor Roll.
That recognition comes after Rijsdijk earned the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week award on Sept. 30.
Rijsdijk helped lead Alabama to a pair of wins over Vanderbilt and Tennessee last weekend, scoring three goals in the two matches.
Rijsdijk recorded her first goals of the year in the win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 27, finding the back of the net two times to help lead the Tide to a 5-2 victory. On Sept. 29, Rijsdijk kept the momentum going by scoring in the 31st minute for what would be the eventual game-winning tally in the Tide's 4-2 win over the Lady Vols.
Entering the South Carolina match, Rijsdijk has scored four goals and accounted for nine points over Alabama's last four matches.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOME AND AWAY
Alabama is 4-2 in home games this season.
When looking further at the numbers, the Crimson Tide has outscored the opposition by a count of 14-9 in the six matches played at the Alabama Soccer Complex. However, the Tide has been outscored, 17-3, in its six road matches.
THAT'S A LOT OF GOALS
Alabama's five goals in the win over Vanderbilt marked the most goals against an SEC opponent since Oct. 28, 2005 when the Tide defeated Auburn, 6-3.
The nine goals in back-to-back SEC games are the most scored in consecutive games against league opponents since Alabama scored 10 goals in back-to-back games in 1997 (defeated Arkansas, 5-3, and South Carolina, 5-4).