Pink Out the Pitch: No. 2 Alabama battles Arkansas in top-10 matchup

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama women’s soccer team (13-1-1, 6-0 SEC) has reached a new program high ranking, but a fifth matchup with a ranked team awaits on Sunday morning in Tuscaloosa. 

The No. 2 Crimson Tide is slated for a match against No. 7 Arkansas (10-2-1, 5-1 SEC). It is a huge contest, which was not lost on head coach Wes Hart. 

“You want to treat it like every other game, but at the same time, you also know there’s a lot at stake,” Hart said. “The winner will likely have a good chance of potentially winning the SEC.” 

Alabama was last in action on Oct. 9, stomping out LSU with a 5-0 shutout for its sixth road victory of 2022. There have been a whopping eight shutouts delivered courtesy of Alabama this fall, including two against ranked teams. 

Arkansas most recently won 3-0 against Vanderbilt at home. The Razorbacks have won five straight in conference play. Four of those five, though, have been by 1-0 margins. Any way one stacks it, five wins in a row is five wins in a row.  

The lone loss that Arkansas suffered in the SEC was in Starkville to a 10-win Mississippi State side. The only loss of Alabama’s season took place almost two months ago in Coral Gables, Florida, against Miami. A road trip to St. Louis tripped up the Razorbacks to open the season.  

The conference has brought forth defending champion Tennessee, two ranked foes in South Carolina and Ole Miss, and a scrappy Georgia team, among others. None of these teams were able to get the better of the Crimson Tide.  

“Arkansas is a fantastic team,” Hart said. “Kinda what their M.O. is: what they’re good at is [being an] incredibly high-pressing, physical, athletic, high-energy team.” 

“The good thing about us is, that’s how we train day in and day out. It’s not like all of a sudden we’re going to have to train and try to mimic what they do. This is what we do as well. You look at our team, and we’re all about pressing and hunting and hard work,” he said.  

Arkansas’s goal leader is Anna Pojodil, with six. Add that to Jessica De Fillipo’s five, and the top two scorers on a top-10 team still only equal Alabama’s goal leader, Riley Mattingly Parker. 

The offense of the Crimson Tide has been a big problem for other teams because of its unrelenting nature. If an opponent gets one behind McKinley Crone, the Alabama attack will go and get two more back. Ask BYU, Ole Miss or Tennessee. 

Even if Arkansas can shut down Mattingly Parker, they wouldn’t be shutting down the attack. School assists record holder Felicia Knox can score. The ever-versatile Reyna Reyes can score. Did Gianna Paul find space? Forget about it. 

The “Power of Pink” match pits two of the best teams in the country against one another — and the run No. 2 Alabama is on has captivated the world of college soccer.  

The match is set to kick off at 11 a.m. CT on the SEC Network.

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