No. 3 Alabama cements SEC regular season title with win over Florida


CW / Morgan Gray

Alabama midfielder Felicia Knox (8) embraces a supporter in the Crimson Tide’s 2-0 victory over the Florida Gators on Oct. 23 at the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The ninth shutout posted by the No. 3 Alabama soccer team in 2022 was the one that helped clinch the SEC regular season title. The Crimson Tide beat Florida 2-0 on Sunday night to win its 12th straight contest.  

The win sent the seniors, playing their last regular season match at the Alabama Soccer Complex, out on a positive note. 

The Crimson Tide (16-1-1, 9-0 SEC) did it in front of a record crowd of 1,882 fans, the largest in Alabama soccer’s home history. Fans were turned away at the gate and a line was still present at the half.  

In the 26th minute, team captain Kat Rogers scored her first goal of the campaign to break the scoreless tie. That goal was the game-winner. 

“It was awesome,” Rogers said. “I mean, you can’t ask for much better than this, right? Win a championship, senior night, just celebrate the heck out of [the seniors.] This group right here, we’ve been through highs and lows, we’ve been through hard times, we’ve been through good times. And today’s a good day. Today was a fun one.” 

Additional separation was created courtesy of Riley Tanner’s second goal in as many matches in the 48th minute. The Gators (2-13-1, 0-8-1 SEC) never broke the shutout. Tanner, one of the seniors being celebrated on Sunday, effectively put the match on ice. 

The Crimson Tide doubled up Florida in shots, 18-9. Goalkeeper McKinley Crone protected the net to the tune of five saves, and Alabama returned to its winning ways in the corner battle by an 8-2 margin. As they often have, the statistical wins translated to a win on the scoreboard. 

“We haven’t seen a team just sit back in a while,” head coach Wes Hart said.  

Florida pressed Alabama less than other SEC teams.   

“We got the job done, we got the goal and added a second in the second half, and we did what we needed to do to win the game,” Hart said. 

Alabama kept both sides of the ball on point, and the new ways in which Florida challenged the Crimson Tide did not yield success for the struggling Gators.  

Hart said he believes that his team is going to maintain its confidence and respond well to winning the conference.  

“I’ve said all year long, with every win, with every new ranking, with every accomplishment we’ve had, it just seems to kind of fuel us,” he said.  

Following the match, the team got the chance to celebrate its conference crown with several fans who had stuck around, and then the seniors got their moment as they were recognized. 

“I’m so, so excited that they’re getting to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Hart said. “Sometimes they lay a foundation, and they’re gone, and all of a sudden other people kind of reap the benefits, and it’s so gratifying seeing them taste success here.” 

The amazing regular season that Alabama has enjoyed is not over yet. One more conference matchup remains — and it’s a big one. Auburn is on deck next. 

“We love the Iron Bowl,” Rogers said. “They’ve always been a game that we like to gear up for.” 

Kickoff for the match is set for Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

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