Soccer takes shutout win over No. 5 South Carolina


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama midfielder Felicia Knox (8) celebrates a goal in the Crimson Tide’s 2-0 win over No. 5 South Carolina on Sept. 15 at the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The biggest soccer match in the history of the Alabama Soccer Complex was a favorable one for the No. 11 Crimson Tide on Thursday. Alabama blanked the No. 5 University of South Carolina Gamecocks, 2-0, to extend its unbeaten streak to seven. 

The first half was a tough defensive half. Alabama (7-1-1) spent a good chunk of time in possession of the ball but couldn’t get a lot of good looks. The Gamecocks (5-1-3) didn’t record a shot in the first half. 

The teams entered the break knotted in a scoreless tie. The Gamecocks’ last outing prior to visiting Tuscaloosa ended with that as the final score. The Crimson Tide failed to score early, but they would not be held off the board for much longer. 

In the 53rd minute, midfielder Felicia Knox sent a scorcher past Gamecocks goalkeeper Heather Hinz. The crowd was elated.  

“It was just a matter of time,” Knox said. “We had a bunch of opportunities, and whether it was me or someone else, it was time.” 

The Riley Mattingly Parker score, which had another entry on Thursday, didn’t have to wait much longer after that. She found the net on a header in minute 54. It was her seventh goal of the season. 

“We try to keep the intensity high the entire game,” Mattingly Parker said. “We’re an aggressive team, we’re looking to get behind, looking to score, shoot a lot … when we’re all going, we’re all going.” 

South Carolina had three dangerous looks in the second half. One missed right — another was stopped by Brooke Steere. The Gamecocks also tried to pull a fast one less than five minutes into the second half, but McKinley Crone was in the right place at the right time.  

As the match wound down, it began to get chippy. The Crimson Tide picked up five yellow cards as a group. Still, though, they held fast and kept the shutout intact.  

“What an incredible performance, and I thought we did it in a pretty convincing manner,” head coach Wes Hart said.  

“South Carolina [has] a clear identity, a clear way about them, and it’s been successful for years and years in this league,” Hart said. “We knew exactly what we were going to get, and our players were up to the challenge.” 

Hart specifically commented on Gamecocks forward Catherine Barry, calling her a handful to defend. 

“[Our team] did an incredible job on her,” Hart said. “Brooke Steere and Sasha [Pickard] I can’t praise them enough for their performance tonight.” 

Alabama more than doubled South Carolina in shots, 20 to six. Seven of Alabama’s shots were on goal. Once again, the Crimson Tide won the corner battle, five to two. 

Alabama is staring right at a top-10 ranking. Hart said the team still isn’t satisfied, and that their goal wasn’t just to be ranked. 

Knox and Mattingly Parker each said focus is important, with Knox adding that right now it’s just a number.  

“We want that number to stay up there the whole season,” Knox said. 

The final non-conference game on the slate now approaches for Alabama. A matchup with the Chattanooga Mocs is set to kick off on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.  

Don’t expect the mindset or preparation to change from a unit Hart says has so many good leaders. 

“The second you don’t respect [the opponent], that’s when the tables flip on you,” Mattingly Parker said.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]