Soccer takes gutsy win over Georgia in Athens


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama’s Brooke Steere (3), Macy Clem (2) and Felicia Knox (8) celebrate in the Crimson Tide’s 2-1 win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Sept. 29 at Turner Field in Athens, Ga.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

In a refreshing outcome for Alabama faithful, the Crimson Tide has beaten the Georgia Bulldogs. 

The No. 5-ranked soccer team took a schedule change in stride on Thursday night as it earned a 2-1 win in enemy territory. The Crimson Tide is still perfect in the SEC, and has won seven matches in a row — 11 straight without tasting defeat. 

Alabama (11-1-1, 4-0 SEC) raced out to a two-goal lead by scoring once in each half. Riley Tanner caught the Bulldog defense off balance in the 19th minute for her second goal of the year. Minutes into the second frame, Ashlynn Serepca got her fourth off an assist from Felicia Knox. 

Knox, who set the school record for assists last Sunday, added one to that tally — she now has 12 for the season to go with three goals. 

The two scores were enough to win, but a scrappy Georgia team continued to fight. The Bulldogs (8-4, 2-2 SEC) broke the shutout in 72nd minute with an Alabama own goal. Macy Clem and McKinley Crone had an apparent miscommunication, and the ball reached the back of the net. 

The noticeable energy shift in Bulldog players and fans resulted in a number of subsequent chances, none of which found a home in the Alabama goal. The Georgia offense never stopped though, constantly trying to break away and get behind the defense. On a number of occasions, the Bulldogs found themselves close to tying it. 

One of the biggest strengths in a drastic road turnaround for this 2022 Crimson Tide team has been its defense. Coming into the contest, the constantly threatening offense wasn’t likely expecting to be held off the board. The defense had to complement the chances and scores they created. 

That’s exactly what happened. 

In a road environment, it can be difficult at times to adjust when the home team is able to shift the momentum. With Georgia trying its best to create problems for the Crimson Tide back line, a momentum swing on an own goal could have been much more of a turning point in the match than it was. 

“So impressed with every player on our team right now,” head coach Wes Hart said. “We play incredibly hard. Our press and hunt continues to cause our opponents all sorts of problems and provides us with a ton of energy. Really fun to watch.” 

Knox said before the match that there was nothing more exciting than silencing a crowd. Scoring first fulfilled this role on Thursday — the Bulldog fans didn’t become rowdy until after their team had scored, which took place with less than 20 minutes of action to go. 

“I thought we showed a lot of grit and toughness tonight,” Hart said. “It was not our best soccer, but we still found a way to win.” 

“This team is beaming with belief right now,” he said.

Alabama had its chances to widen the Georgia deficit even more. With less than 15 minutes to play, Reyna Reyes had two great chances in the space of 90 seconds. One was saved and one sailed high. 

The Crimson Tide once again led the way in offensive output with 12 more shots than Georgia (19-7). Five of Alabama’s shots were on goal. Just one of Georgia’s was. It was saved by Crone. 

Alabama took the victory in the corner battle too — a staple of this remarkable run. The margin was 10 to three. 

When the clock hit zero, the Crimson Tide had won its first-ever match while ranked inside the top five. 

From here, the team will have seven days until its next match. That match is in Tuscaloosa against Ole Miss on Oct. 6. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.

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