Senior Day: No. 3 Alabama set to compete against Florida in home regular season finale

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

As the regular season for No. 3 Alabama soccer is winding down, Senior Day is next on the schedule with the Crimson Tide taking on the Florida Gators on Sunday night in Tuscaloosa. 

Alabama (15-1-1, 8-0 SEC) won the SEC West on Thursday with a 4-1 victory over Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide has won 11 straight matches and gone 15 matches without a loss. 

The Crimson Tide puts its 8-0 home mark on the line in the contest. 

Florida (2-12-1, 0-7-1 SEC) has lost nine of its last 10 games. A 1-1 tie with Kentucky on Oct. 16 is the lone non-blemish on the Gators’ conference record. Florida has not won since Sept. 1. 

Against Mississippi State, Alabama scored three goals in the second half to cement its victory. The SEC West title is just the beginning of Alabama’s goals for this season, and closing out the home portion of the regular season with a win is important for many reasons. 

Sending a senior class that has seen the program rise from unranked to No. 1 in some polls, though, is priority number one. 

The Crimson Tide offense is as versatile as ever, with four different players scoring against the Bulldogs. There is now a three-way tie for second on the team in goals, with six goals apiece from Gianna Paul, Reyna Reyes and Ashlynn Serepca. First place is still comfortably occupied by forward Riley Mattingly Parker, with 12 goals.  

The largest number of goals scored by an individual on the Gators team, by comparison, is two. Florida has scored three goals in a match just once, in an Aug. 21 win over Stetson. The Alabama defense has not allowed more than two goals in a single match. 

Alabama’s scoring peak this season is six in a single match — Sept. 18 against Chattanooga. 

Another team from the state of Florida is responsible for the Crimson Tide’s only loss this season — that team is Miami.  

The Gators are 1-6-1 on the road, but eight of Florida’s losses this season have come by one score. That is part of the reason why the Crimson Tide can’t overlook Florida — they aren’t getting blown off the board. 

It may be another case of a team being better than its record. 

The three second-half goals were a major plus on Thursday, but Alabama will want to have more offensive output in the first 45 minutes on Sunday. In each of its past two matches, the Crimson Tide has scored only once in the first half. In each of the preceding two matches, Alabama had three and two first-half scores, respectively. 

The defense, one of the best in the country, has posted eight shutouts and was instrumental in giving the offense a fighting chance in several contests. The Gators have their work cut out for them. In Florida’s last three, it has scored five goals. 

In Alabama’s last six, it has allowed four goals. 

Sunday is the last time Alabama soccer will play at home during the 2022 regular season. A win would polish off a perfect home record. For the upset-seeking Gators, a win would be their first in SEC play. 

Kickoff for the match is at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+. 

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