Soccer Looks to Bounce Back This Weekend



Oct. 18, 2012

Match 17 |  Alabama (7-7-2, 2-6-2 SEC) vs. #12 Florida (12-3-1, 9-1-0 SEC)
Date Friday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. CT
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | Free
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderFlorida Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Series Record 0-15-2 | Last Meeting, UF 2 - UA 1 | Nov. 4, 2011
Promotions Promotions Schedule
Match 18 |  Alabama (7-7-2, 2-6-2 SEC) vs. South Carolina (5-7-4,2-5-3 SEC)
Date Sunday, Oct. 21, 1 p.m. CT
Location Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Alabama Soccer Stadium (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | Free
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat ReaderSouth Carolina Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream TideTV
Series Record 4-10-0 | Last Meeting, UA 1 - USC 0 | Nov. 2, 2011
Promotions Promotions Schedule | Tuscaloosa Toyota Power of Pink

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team (7-7-2 overall, 2-6-2 SEC) looks to bounce back this weekend when it welcomes the No. 12 Florida Gators (12-3-1 overall, 9-1 SEC) and the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-7-4 overall, 2-5-3 SEC) to the Alabama Soccer Stadium for a pair of Southeastern Conference matches. UF and UA will go head-to-head on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks will travel to Tuscaloosa for a 1 p.m., start on Sunday.

Alabama dropped two tough matches last weekend to Mississippi State and Missouri. Against MSU, UA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half, as senior Lindsey Sillers scored her second goal of the year after she followed up a Pia Rijsdijk shot. The Bulldogs, however, struck back with goals in the 75th and 78th minute, taking a 2-1 lead. Rijsdijk was able to even the score in 82nd minute, when she tapped in a corner kick. MSU didn’t settle for the tie, as they played a free kick into the Alabama box and, after a long scramble the Bulldogs tapped in a shot in the 88th minute for the win. Mizzou struck quickly, taking advantage of an Alabama turnover in their defensive end to take 1-0 lead four minutes in, but the game then saw the Tide dominate possession and the stat sheet as they searched for the equalizer. It came in the 62nd minute, again from Rijsdijk, as she was able to find the ball in a heap of players and calmly slide it far post to tie the game at 1-1. The Crimson Tide pushed forward, looking for the game winner, but could only watch in stunning silence when the Tigers countered for the winner, scoring with just 69 seconds left to escape the UA upset bid and win, 2-1.

UA may be on a four-game losing streak, but sophomore Pia Rijsdijk has kept the Crimson Tide in games. Rijsdijk leads the team with 19 points on seven goals and five assists, and had two goals and an assist in this past weekend’s matches. Rijsdijk scored the late equalizers in both the Mississippi State and Missouri games and added an assist against the Bulldogs, making her a part of every Alabama goal on the weekend.

The Gators of Florida enter this Friday’s match ranked 12th in the country at 12-3-1 overall and are atop the SEC standings at 9-1 on the year. After losing their SEC opener at Kentucky, the Gators have won nine straight conference games, including two this past weekend against 14th ranked Missouri on Friday night and then Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon. In Friday night’s matchup of SEC East leaders, Florida came out on top, 2-1, over Mizzou in a game that saw UF come-from-behind in the second half to earn the victory. After Missouri dominated the first half and led 1-0 at halftime, Florida came out and tied Mizzou early in the second half, and then won the game on a corner kick goal by senior midfielder Jo Dragotta in the 85th minute. It was Dragotta’s first career game-winning goal. On Sunday afternoon, the Gators followed it up with their ninth straight win, this time taking down Mississippi State, 4-1. UF scored just four minutes in, but watched as MSU came back to tie the game just under 90 seconds into the second half on their first shot of the game. The Gators then came back to score three goals in a 10 minute span to blow the game open. Dragotta scored her second career game-winner in as many games, sparking the Gators to victory on Senior Day. Senior Erika Tymrak scored off of a free kick a few minutes later, and Dragotta earned her first ever two-goal game with a penalty kick goal in the 80th minute. The Gators are led by Tymrak, who has 14 points on four goals and six assists, and by sophomore Havana Solaun, who has 14 points on five goals and four assists. Both Tymrak and Solaun lead Florida with eight points in SEC play. Dragotta has scored all five of her goals in SEC play this season. Florida is led in goal by sophomore Taylor Burke, who has 40 saves and a 1.07 goals against average this year. The Gators are led by head coach Becky Burleigh, who led UF to the 1998 NCAA Tournament title and has gone 312-83-27 in her 18 seasons in charge.

The South Carolina Gamecocks enter this weekend with a 5-7-4 overall record and a 2-5-3 mark in the SEC and are the defending SEC regular season champs. The Gamecocks have yet to win a road game on the year; they sit at 0-3-3 on the road in 2012. USC split their matches this past weekend, toppling LSU on Friday night before falling to Ole Miss on Sunday. The Gamecocks dominated their Friday night match up against the Tigers, holding an 18-3 shots advantage and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks en route to their 2-1 win. LSU’s only goal was scored on a corner kick in the 81st minute after South Carolina put up a goal on either side of halftime for the lead. On Sunday, Ole Miss knocked off USC, 2-1, to end a two-match winning streak for the Gamecocks. The Rebels’ goals were sandwiched around the first career goal for sophomore Taylor Leach, as all three goals were scored in the first 45 minutes of play. South Carolina is led by junior forward/midfielder Danielle Au, who has nine points on three goals and three assists and leads the team with 41 shots. Freshman forward Courtney Angotti-Smith leads USC with four assists to go along with a pair of goals for eight points. USC is led in goal by sophomore Sabrina D’Angelo, who has 35 saves and a 1.05 goals against average. The Gamecocks are led by head coach Shelley Smith, who has led the team to five consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and was named the 2011 SEC Coach of the Year. Smith has posted a 136-85-32 in her 13 seasons in Columbia.

Florida: The two teams have met 17 times overall, and Alabama has yet to record a win over the Gators, as they trail in the overall series, 0-15-2. Last year, the Gators defeated the Crimson Tide twice, winning 4-1 in Gainesville and then followed it up with a 2-1 win in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Alabama took a 1-0 lead in that match off of a Pia Rijsdijk goal, but the Gators answered back and took the lead for good with an 81st minute goal. The last time the two teams tangled in Tuscaloosa, the game ended in a 1-1 tie in double overtime, just the second time the Tide have earned a result in the series. Alabama’s Brooke Rogers scored a goal with less than a minute remaining to tie the game up and send it to overtime.

South Carolina: This will be the 15th meeting between the two schools, with South Carolina holding the head-to-head edge, 10-4. The two teams split last season’s meetings, with South Carolina winning at home, 4-1, but were dealt a tough loss as the eighth seeded Crimson Tide knocked off the top seeded Gamecocks, 1-0, in the SEC Tournament.  Molly Atherton scored the lone goal in the game, which snapped a three game losing streak in the series for Alabama.

Sunday’s contest against South Carolina will mark the Tuscaloosa Toyota Power of Pink match for the Crimson Tide. Pink T-shirts will be handed out to the first 100 fans and giveaways will include: 20 umbrellas, 12 Tervis Tumblers, 1 iPod Shuffle, 24 soccer balls, 24 pink hats and headbands.

Alabama sophomore forward Pia Rijsdijk enters the weekend with 19 points on seven goals and five assists. The 19 points are the most scored by a Crimson Tide players since Libby Probst tallied a school record 37 on 15 goals and seven assists in 18 matches in 2005.

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 seven 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 sixth in the Southeastern Conference in attendance, averaging 853 fans a game.

Through 16 games in 2012, Alabama has already scored 33 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 2.06 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 second in total shots (311) and shots per game (19.44). The Tide is fourth in goals (33) and goals per game (2.06). UA is tied for second in assists (32) but leads the league in assists per game (2.00).

Junior Molly Atherton is fourth in the SEC in shots with 57 and also ranks fourth in shots per game with 3.56/game. Sophomore Pia Rijsdijk is fifth in scoring with 19 points and is sixth in points per game with 1.19/game.

Alabama dropped to 60th in the latest RPI rankings, a drop of 11 spots 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.

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 wrap up the regular season with soccer’s version of the Iron Bowl when they travel to Auburn on Thursday, October 25, with kickoff slated at 7 p.m.