No. 3 Alabama beats Auburn with late goal, clinches unbeaten conference regular season


Courtesy of UA Athletics

The Alabama soccer team celebrates with the Iron Bowl trophy in the Crimson Tide’s 1-0 win over the Auburn Tigers on Oct. 27 at the Auburn Soccer Complex in Auburn, Ala.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

It wasn’t easy, but the No. 3 Alabama soccer team overcame the Auburn Tigers to win 1-0 on Thursday night. Alabama’s winning streak is now at 13 matches.  

The Crimson Tide (17-1-1, 10-0 SEC) already has the top seed in next week’s conference tournament locked down. The Tigers (6-6-6, 2-6-2 SEC) were playing for a shot at making the conference tournament, ultimately needing a win against their rivals on home field to do it. 

Thanks to Riley Tanner’s 86th-minute header and more heroics from the back line and goalkeeper McKinley Crone, Auburn will miss out on the SEC tournament for the first time in more than two decades.  

The first half was scoreless, but not bereft of opportunity for both teams. Alabama and Auburn combined for nine first-half shots, each team just missing the mark with some chances. The Crimson Tide sorely missed its top scorer, Riley Mattingly Parker, who did not play in the match. 

“Obviously we missed some key players tonight, but, once again, others stepped up and answered the challenge,” head coach Wes Hart said. “[That] speaks volumes for the quality depth we have.” 

Alabama, though, has another Riley. 

As the clock ticked closer to the end of the match — a draw did Auburn no favors but could have halted Alabama’s win streak — the rivals traded chances and possessions. With that, each goalkeeper had chances to make plays. For the most part, both athletes did. Crone’s official three-save line does not showcase the other clutch blocks she was able to make.  

Auburn’s Maddie Prohaska, one of the Tigers’ best players, was just as good, stalling the dangerous Alabama attack for much of the way through. She recorded five saves, but Tanner was in the right place at the right time. Kat Rogers sent the ball her way and she headed it in for her fifth of the season. 

As it has done all season long, the Alabama defense held strong. With the Tigers’ chances at an SEC tournament bid all but shot, they failed to even things up in the final stages. When the final seconds had elapsed, the Crimson Tide had survived one of its most challenging matches in league play. 

The Iron Bowl trophy will remain in Tuscaloosa, where it has resided since 2020. Auburn was close — this is a team that has been close all year long. The Tigers weren’t short on chances. Crone and her defense weren’t short on clutch play. 

“Another incredible performance by our team tonight,” Hart said. “Every week we are challenged and every week we find ways to win these games.” 

“I can promise you we are not 10-0 in league and 17-1-1 on the season without [the back line].” 

With the best regular season in program history now complete, the Crimson Tide will turn its attention to the conference tournament in Pensacola, Florida. The first match on the docket is set for 5 p.m. CT on Nov. 1. All games throughout the tournament will be on the SEC Network. 

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