Alabama Soccer Earns Second Ever Berth to NCAA Tournament
Nov. 7, 2011
"I am happy for the players," Alabama head coach Todd Bramblesaid. "They worked so hard, not just this year, but over several years to get the program to this point. They have really bought in to what the coaching staff has asked of them. This is a really big victory for the program."
Alabama returns to NCAA postseason play for the first time since 1998. This season, the Tide earned wins over Southeastern Conference champions South Carolina and SEC Tournament champs, Auburn. UA also downed No. 24 Tennessee and No. 22 San Diego State to help solidify its resume.
The Tide went 4-2-1 down the stretch to propel them into postseason play. Alabama used the surge to move into the semifinal round of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 1998. Eight teams will represent the SEC, second to the nine from the soccer-rich ACC.
"Words can't even describe the feeling right now," fifth-year senior defender Carly Mygrantssaid. "It has been a long time. For the seniors and this program to be going to the tournament, it makes all the running, hard work and extra hours all worth it."
Bramble leads the Tide to the postseason berth in his fourth year at the helm. UA has finished .500 or better in three of those seasons, earning double-digit wins this year for the first time since 2004. In his seven seasons at Clemson, Bramble led the Tigers to the NCAA tournament every season, reaching the NCAA Elite Eight once and the NCAA Sweet 16 twice.
The winner of the Alabama - Miami match will head to the second round, which will be played in California, as No. 3 seed Pepperdine (15-1-4) hosts Long Beach State (15-5-1). The second round is slated to begin on Friday, Nov. 18.
The matchup with Miami will be the third in program history. The two teams split the two games, with Alabama winning the first in Miami in 1998, 3-0. The most recent meeting came in Tuscaloosa in 2000, where the Hurricanes earned a 1-0 win.