Soccer Heads to Rival Auburn to Close Out Regular Season



Oct. 24, 2012

Match 19 |  Alabama (8-8-2, 3-7-2 SEC) at Auburn (10-9-0, 6-6-0 SEC)
Date Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. CT
Location Auburn, Ala. | Auburn Soccer Complex (1,500)
Tickets General Admission | Free
Television None
Radio WVUA 90.7 FM
Live Stats GameTracker
Game Notes Alabama Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Auburn Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Video Stream Auburn All-Access
Series Record 7-11-2 | Last Meeting, UA 3 - AU 2 | Oct. 28, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team (8-8-2 overall, 3-7-2 SEC) looks to finish the regular season on a winning note as its plays Auburn (10-9-0 overall, 6-6-0 SEC) in the Iron Bowl of Soccer at the Auburn Soccer Complex on Thursday, Oct. 25. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

Alabama split a pair of key Southeastern Conference matches in a weekend that saw the Crimson Tide make school history but also lose in heartbreaking fashion. On Friday night, Alabama defeated the 11th ranked Florida Gators for the first time in school history. Freshman Katie Bourgeois’ goal in the 39th minute was all the scoring the Tide would need, as the defense and junior netminder Shelby Church did the rest, stifling the Gators attack for the 1-0 win to snap a four-game conference losing streak. Alabama had been winless in 17 previous games against the Gators. On Sunday afternoon, Alabama found the other side of the spectrum, losing to South Carolina, 1-0, in their annual Power of Pink match and home finale on an own goal in the 14th minute. The teams combined for just 13 shots, with UA putting up eight of them, but the Tide could not find the equalizer.

Freshman Katie Bourgeois scored her eighth goal of the season on Friday night against Florida, giving her three game winners on the year, in addition to three assists. Her 19 points are second on the team and her eight goals are tops for freshmen in the conference.

The Auburn Tigers enter the match at 10-9-0 overall and 6-6-0 in the SEC. The Tigers enjoy a home field advantage at the Auburn Soccer Complex, as AU is 7-4-0 on the year at home on the Plains. Auburn split a pair of conference matches this past weekend on the road against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. On Friday night, AU clinched a SEC Tournament berth with a 4-1 over Vanderbilt in Nashville. Four Tigers’ scored goals in the win, and Vanderbilt only avoided the shutout with a free kick goal with 15 seconds left. On Sunday, Auburn dropped a tough match at Kentucky, 2-1, in a game that saw the Tigers take a 1-0 lead into halftime, only to give up two goals in the first eight minutes of the second half to the Wildcats. Auburn also missed a first half penalty kick just four minutes after taking the lead. The game was the 10th one goal game for the Tigers, with Auburn now 4-6 in those matches. The Tigers are led by sophomore forward Tatiana Coleman, who has 19 points on six goals and seven assists in 2012. Coleman also has 58 shots, 33 on target, and three game-winning goals on the year. In goal, the Tigers are led by senior Amy Howard, who has 89 saves and a 1.10 goals against average and five shutouts. Auburn is led by head coach Karen Hoppa, who has gone 161-109-23 in her 14 seasons in charge.

Auburn: The two teams have met 20 times, with the Tigers holding an 11-7-2 advantage in the series. In last year’s meeting in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide won, 3-2, behind what might be the greatest goal in school history. After the Tide blew a two-goal lead with five minutes left in the game, junior Ashley Willis launched a 30-yard blast that found the upper corner of the far post, clinching a spot in the SEC Tournament and giving UA its first win over Auburn since 2005. 

Much like last season the postseason hopes for the Crimson Tide lies directly in a rivalry match with Auburn. Alabama currently sits on the outside looking in on the tournament field as the Tide resides in the 11th spot with only 10 teams making the field. UA (11) is just one point behind South Carolina (12) for the 10th and final position. Alabama can finish as high as ninth in the standings with a win and a LSU and South Carolina loss. UA can finish in the 10th spot with a win and South Carolina tie or loss. Alabama has the same record as Georgia but holds the tie breaker with its 2-1 win earlier in the season.

Alabama sophomore forward Pia Rijsdijk enters the Auburn game with 20 points on seven goals and six assists, while freshman forward Katie Bourgeois enters the game with 19 points on a team-high eight goals and three assists . The 20 and 19 points are the most scored by a Crimson Tide player since Libby Probst tallied a school record 37 on 15 goals and seven assists in 18 matches in 2005.

Through 18 games in 2012, Alabama has already scored 34 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 at a similar rate during his tenure. Alabama is averaging 1.89 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 (330) and shots per game (18.33). The Tide is fourth in goals (34) and goals per game (1.89). UA is tied for third in assists (32) and assists per game (1.78).

Junior Molly Atherton is seventh in the SEC with 57 shots, while teammate Pia Rijsdijk is right behind her with 54 shots. Rijsdijk is fifth with 20 points on the year, and Katie Bourgeois is tied for sixth with 19 points. Bourgeois is sixth with eight goals this season, while Rijsdijk is tied for seventh with seven tallies on the year. Rijsdijk is tied for sixth with six assists, and Bourgeois is tied for fourth with three game winning goals on the year.

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.