Oct. 17, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team will play a pair of SEC contests this weekend at the Alabama Soccer Complex. The Crimson Tide will first play host to No. 27/24 Texas A&M on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT. Following that contest, Alabama will then host No. 23/14 Kentucky for the annual Power of Pink game on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
FOLLOW THE TIDE
Fans can watch/follow this weekend's matches via the below outlets:
Listen: RollTide.com; 90.7 WVUA FM
ALABAMA VS. TEXAS A&M (FRIDAY AT 7 P.M.)
Soccer Scarf Giveaway - First 500 fans get a free Soccer Scarf
Kids Day - First 200 kids receive a free hot dog & drink
Sophie Campise Senior Night
ALABAMA VS. KENTUCKY (SUNDAY AT 1 P.M.)
Alabama will recognize seniors Sophie Campise (Texas A&M on Friday) and Kendall Khanna (Kentucky on Sunday). The other two seniors in this year's graduating class were honored earlier this season (Molly Atherton on Sept. 27 vs. Vanderbilt and Shelby Church Sept. 29 vs. Tennessee).
Alabama and Texas A&M will meet for the fifth time in series history and second time as SEC rivals when the two teams square off on Friday night. The Aggies own a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 5-0 victory over the Tide last season in College Station, Texas. Friday's match will mark just the second time Texas A&M will play in Tuscaloosa, and the first since Sept. 8, 1996.
Alabama and Kentucky will meet for the 17th time in the all-time series, with the Wildcats owning a 10-5-1 advantage over the Tide. However, Bama won the last meeting between the two teams, capturing a 2-1 overtime victory in Lexington a year ago. The Tide owns a record of 3-3-1 when hosting the Wildcats in Tuscaloosa.
Sunday's match vs. Kentucky will be the annual Power of Pink to recognize the fight against breast cancer. The Tide will wear special pink uniforms, while fans in attendance will receive a free pink t-shirt.
Alabama comes into this weekend's Southeastern Conference matches with a 5-8 record on the season and is in seventh in league play with nine points (3-3). The Crimson Tide dropped its lone match last weekend, falling 2-1 to then-No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 11.
Junior forward Pia Rijsdijk, who was tabbed the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 30, leads the team with 12 points (5g, 2a). Junior midfielder Laura Lee Smith (3g, 0a) and senior midfielder Molly Atherton (2g, 2a) are tied for second on the team wish six points apiece.
Sophomore midfielder Merel Van Dongen, who will miss the remainder of the 2013 season with an injury, had four goals on the year in six games before going down with the injury.
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 5-6 record on the year. She has a 2.02 goals against average and leads the SEC with 4.90 saves per game (54 stops in 11 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 TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M comes into Friday's game boasting a 10-3-1 record and is 5-1 in SEC play. The contest at Alabama will mark just the fourth road game of the year for the Aggies.
The Aggies won their fourth consecutive contest in the lone game of the weekend with a 4-3 overtime home win over Arkansas on Oct. 11.
In the latest top-25 polls, Texas A&M is ranked No. 27 by the NSCAA and No. 24 by Soccer America.
Junior forward Shea Groom leads a balanced offensive attack with eight goals and 19 points (8g, 3a) on the season. She is one of five Aggie players to have double-digit points on the year. Junior forward Kelley Monogue (6g, 2a) and freshman forward Liz Keester (6g, 2a) each have 14 points on the year, while sophomore defender Karlie Mueller is tied for the league-lead with 10 assists on the season
Texas A&M has outscored its competition by an impressive total of 38-13 this season and leads the SEC in goals per game (2.71). The Aggies also lead the league in total shots (318), shots per game (22.71), shots on goal (148) and shots on goal per game (10.57).
Junior goalkeeper Jordan Day owns a 0.96 goals against average, allowing 13 goals while making 46 saves on the year.
Kentucky enters the weekend with an impressive 11-2-1 record and is 5-1 in SEC play. The Wildcats come into their two matches this weekend having won four straight and 11 of the last 12.
The Wildacts are coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Tennessee in Lexington, Ky., last Friday in the lone match last week.
In the latest top-25 polls, Kentucky is ranked No. 23 by the NSCAA and No. 14 by Soccer America. The Wildcats' RPI is at No. 27 in the country.
Junior midfielder Stuart Pope leads the team with 23 points on nine goals and five assists. Junior defender Arin Gilliland ranks second on the squad with 22 points on seven goals and a team-leading eight assists. Freshman forward Zoe Swift also has double-figure points with 18 (7g, 4a).
Senior goalkeeper Kayla King has played all but 28 minutes in the net this season for the Wildcats. She owns a 0.93 goals against average, with 13 goals allowed while making 39 saves.
POWER OF PINK
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as a way to recognize that, the Alabama soccer team's annual "Power of Pink" game has been designated for this Sunday against Kentucky. The Tide and Wildcats will kick off at 1 p.m. CT at the Alabama Soccer Complex.
The Crimson Tide will don special pink uniforms in honor of breast cancer awareness.
ALABAMA SUFFERS TOUGH LOSS AT NO. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA
In its only game of the week, the Alabama soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision at No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 11 in Columbia, S.C.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Gamecocks scored two second-half goals, including the game-winner with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, to down the Crimson Tide.
Through its first eight games, the Alabama offense struggled, scoring only four goals in 113 shots. In fact, only one player (Merel Van Dongen) had scored all four of the Tide's goals through the first eight matches.
However, in the last five games, the Tide has accounted for 14 goals on 62 shots, with eight different players finding the back of the net.
AMONG THE SEC LEADERS
As a result of its recent scoring surge, Alabama finds itself among the SEC's offensive leaders in league games only.
The Tide comes into the weekend leading the league in shot percentage (.209), is tied for second in the league in goals scored (14), goals per game (2.33), points (42) and points per game (7.00) and ranks third in assists (14) and assists per game (2.33) when playing against SEC competition.
FACING STIFF COMPETITION
Alabama is 5-8 on the 2013 season and 3-3 in Southeastern Conference play. That record may be a little deceiving when breaking down the Crimson Tide schedule through its 13 matches.
Four of the Tide's opponents are currently ranked in the nation's top 25 (Wake Forest, Florida, Denver and South Carolina).
Through Sunday's games, 11 of Alabama's 13 opponents it has played have a winning record.
The combined record of the Tide's opposition thus far is 111-53-17 (.660), while the eight teams who have defeated Alabama is a combined 79-24-9 (.780).
It won't get any easier as both of Alabama's opponents are currently ranked among the top 30 in the nation (Kentucky is ranked No. 25 in NSCAA and No. 14 in Soccer America polls, while Texas A&M is No. 27 in NSCAA and No. 24 in Soccer America).
Alabama junior forward Pia Rijsdijk continues her stellar play. She scored the Tide's lone goal in the 2-1 loss at South Carolina, giving her five goals in Alabama's last five contests.
She leads Alabama in goals (5)and points (10) and is tied for second in assists (2).
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