Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Revenge game for Alabama soccer ends in a draw

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama soccer player Itala Gemelli (#29) kicks the ball against University of Miami on Aug. 31 at The University of Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama soccer was unable to avenge last August’s 1-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Coral Gables, playing Miami to a scoreless draw in a physical, emotional game rife with controversy. 

 The Crimson Tide outshot its opponents 18-5, but Canes goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais was brilliant, recording seven saves to ensure that her team walked away with a resume-boosting tie against the fifth-ranked team in the country. The game was Alabama’s first draw of the regular season. 

“Obviously discouraged that we didn’t get the win,” head coach Wes Hart said. “We play these types of games, and we expect, you know, especially at home, home crowd, against a team like Miami, we’re expecting to come out of there with a win.” 

Alabama recorded eight shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, with one of the more promising attempts coming from senior Kate Henderson, who fired a rocket at the net that was saved with just 43 seconds to play.  

 “There definitely was a little more hype on this game just because of that loss with them [last] regular season,” Henderson said.  

Defensively, the Crimson Tide was perfect. Keeper Dylan Pixton may have had the easiest game of her collegiate career, making just one save, a routine dribbler that she fielded cleanly in the 87th minute. Defender Sasha Pickard was brilliant and is making a legitimate case to be named the SEC Defender of the Year. She played all 90 minutes and came away with a massive slide tackle in the box late in the game to end a dangerous Miami attack. 

The game’s biggest story, though, at least in the eyes of the nearly 1,000 fans in attendance, was the referees. Arnel Selman’s crew set a very physical tone from the beginning, with a few early no-calls establishing that the game would be a bloodbath. Players on both sides were knocked to the ground on a regular basis, and as the refs continued to swallow the whistles, fans and players alike grew more and more aggravated.   

Hart made it clear that there would be no excuses made.  

 “It’s part of the game,” Hart said. “Some games you’re going to get those calls, some games you’re not. The more you dwell on them, the more you let them frustrate you, the more it takes away from us trying to do what we’re here for.” 

 When you are coming off a trip to the national semifinals, and riding a perfect 4-0 start to the season, anything other than a win is going to hurt. The team appeared downright dejected when the final horn sounded, as though they had just suffered a blowout loss. 

 Hart made a point of keeping things in perspective.  

 “We’ll let this one sting for a few minutes, but then as soon as we walk off this pitch here, all of our focus shifts to a very good Samford team,” Hart said. 

As mentioned, the Crimson Tide heads north to Homewood to take on the Samford Bulldogs, Sunday, Sept. 3. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN+. 

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