“Iron Bowl of Soccer”: No. 3 Alabama looks to polish perfect SEC season against Auburn

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

As quickly as it began, Alabama soccer’s regular season is at its end. The final match has arrived in the form of rival Auburn. 

The No. 3 Crimson Tide (16-1-1, 9-0 SEC) will look to become the first team to finish the conference regular season with a perfect record since South Carolina did it in 2016. To accomplish this, Alabama will have to notch its eighth road win of the season. 

Alabama has won 12 straight matches and has not tasted defeat since Aug. 21. Along the way, numerous individual and team records have been set. One more test remains before conference tournament play in Pensacola, Florida, next week. 

“I know [Auburn is] gearing up for us,” midfielder and team captain Kat Rogers said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and battle. We’ve never rolled into a game as an SEC champion, and that’s a standard that we get to hold now.” 

The Crimson Tide clinched its first SEC regular season title with Sunday’s victory over Florida and Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina. 

Head coach Wes Hart continued to say that he does not think his team will fall victim to complacency. 

“I think [the match] is going to be awesome,” he said. “I’ll be interested to see how we respond. I don’t anticipate a letdown. I got to believe that confidence is going to be riding high.” 

Auburn (6-5-6) is no stranger to ties and is fresh off one against LSU. The Tigers are a mere 2-5-2 in conference play and are winless in the last three. Alabama will be the sixth ranked opponent to stand across the pitch from Auburn in 2022 — the Tigers are 0-3-2 in such matches to date. 

The Tigers’ home-road differences are noticeable. A 5-2-2 home record isn’t bad by any means, but is not bolstered by a lone win on the road and four draws to go with it. Still, that fact is effectively rendered moot given that it is Alabama who will take the mantle of the road team in this contest. 

The Crimson Tide boasts a 7-1-1 road record and is 4-0 in the SEC’s hostile territories. Most recently, before beating Florida, Alabama won 4-1 in Starkville, Mississippi, using four goals by four different players. Three of the scores were in the second half.  

“I don’t intend on the Iron Bowl [trophy] going anywhere,” midfielder Felicia Knox said. “It’s another big game and another opportunity for us to win a trophy.” 

“I don’t think there’s anything better than an Alabama-Auburn rivalry,” forward Ashlynn Serepca said. “I think we’re in a situation where we’re never content, and so we want to just keep doing our thing and [stay] confident.” 

The final chance for Alabama soccer to make a statement to the rest of the league before the conference tournament will not be overlooked. The focus has been on taking things one match at a time and that strategy will not change. Auburn will be looking to make a statement of its own on home turf, and put a major exclamation point on the regular season for themselves. 

Kickoff for the match is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. 

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