Top-seeded Alabama makes easy work of Jackson State in first round of NCAA Tournament


Courtesy of UA Athletics

The Alabama soccer team celebrates a goal in the Crimson Tide’s 9-0 win over the Jackson State Tigers on Nov. 11 at the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The Alabama soccer team did not disappoint in its first-ever home NCAA tournament match on Friday. The top-seeded Crimson Tide (20-2-1) handled the Jackson State University Tigers in shutout fashion to advance to the Round of 32 for the second straight season. 

The 9-0 final score represented the highest single-match goal count for Alabama this season, and the first time scoring nine since 2012, before head coach Wes Hart was hired. 

“From that opening whistle, we were focused on Jackson State and the task at hand, and we took care of business,” Hart said. “Awesome performance by our team. At this stage, it’s about getting results. We got the result, and now we’re getting ready to play again next Friday.” 

Riley Mattingly Parker opened the scoring in the 14th minute. She would later break the single season record for goals at Alabama with her 16th of the fall in the 50th minute. The record stood since 2005 and belonged to Libby Probst. 

“That was a fun game,” Mattingly Parker said. “First round done, on to the next round. I’m looking forward to it. This is actually a cool night for me because it’s my first time playing in the NCAA tournament. Special moment for me, great team win.” 

She called getting the record “pretty sweet.” 

“I’ve been trying not to focus too much on that, but when you get questions, my parents, too, ask me about it, it’s at the back of your mind,” Mattingly Parker said. “It’s special for me just because my name is going to be associated with Alabama in the record books until the next person comes along and breaks my record.” 

In between the Mattingly Parker scores, Ashlynn Serepca and Kat Rogers each found the back of the net to round out the first-half three goals that the Crimson Tide took into the break. Serepca is second to Mattingly Parker with eight goals in 2022. 

“This was a great way to start the tournament,” Serepca said. “Coming off a loss in the final of the SEC Tournament, I think that was a good push for us to see how we responded. This was the best response that we could’ve gotten.” 

In the second half, the offense did not slow down. Mattingly Parker’s second goal of the night was the first of the frame. Felicia Knox, who had a hat trick in assists to extend her own school record to 19, followed her with a 52nd-minute score. 

During the course of minutes 50 through 60, Alabama scored four times. In addition to those mentioned above, the latter two were sent into the net by Reyna Reyes and Gianna Paul, respectively. Aislin Streicek decided in the 65th minute that the scoring just wouldn’t be complete without her, and she sent the score to a whopping eight to nil. 

Emelie Kobler added the finale with seven seconds to go in the 82nd minute. The Crimson Tide had eight different goal-scorers on the night. 

Jackson State, meanwhile, couldn’t put up any offense against one of the best teams it faced all season. The Tigers (11-8-1) totaled just three shots on goal during the entire match. The reliable McKinley Crone was there to save them all and keep the visitors from Mississippi off the board. 

Alabama had 37 shots, with 18 shots on goal. The Crimson Tide took 11 corners. Jackson State had zero. 

Suffice it to say that Friday night’s effort was a far cry from the Crimson Tide’s rather narrow 1-0 win over Clemson in the 2021 postseason. The result makes Tiger teams 0-2 in as many tries against Alabama in the past two NCAA Tournaments. 

Alabama made a statement in keeping its season alive, and will defend home turf at least once more on Nov. 18 against the winner of No. 8 seed University of Portland versus No. 9 seed Arizona State University. Those teams are set to do battle on Saturday, Nov. 12. 

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