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

Alabama scores late equalizer to tie North Carolina

CW / Riley Thompson
Alabama soccer player Gianna Paul (#14) controls the ball in a game against North Carolina on Sep. 10 at the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Alabama Crimson Tide just went toe to toe with one of the most historic programs in college soccer, ending its game against No. 3 North Carolina in a 1-1 draw. 

“We were playing on our terms. I thought we executed our game plan, we were who we were, and we went toe to toe with one of the best in the country,” head coach Wes Hart said. 

North Carolina stormed out of the gates, firing off five shots in the first 14 minutes. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, its offense disappeared, and it went a full 30 minutes without another attempt.

“I can’t put my finger on it,” North Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance said postgame. “We had a problem.”
 It was freshman Coralie Lallier’s turn to start in net today, as Hart has continued having her and sixth-year senior Dylan Pixton alternate games.  

“She was big time,” Hart said. “Coralie made a couple [six] big saves in there that allowed us to tie it up.” 

Lallier’s lone mishap came in the 59th minute, when North Carolina senior Avery Patterson, who netted two goals in last year’s national championship game, was able to deliver a grounder just past Lallier’s outstretched arms. 

Trailing 1-0 with under 12 minutes to go, it appeared as though this would go down as a hard-fought yet disappointing loss for the Crimson Tide. 

But Gianna Paul said otherwise. 

The sophomore forward had scored in all but three games this year, and when she was fed a perfect pass in the box, all 1,421 fans in attendance knew exactly what was about to happen. 

“I was seeing the goal. That’s all I was seeing,” Paul said. “[Marianna Annest] put the ball on the line and I saw empty space. Obviously, I ran towards it. My first touch I think went straight to the goalie.” 

Indeed, it was blocked, and for a second it appeared as though North Carolina keeper Emmie Allen would continue her perfect night and hand Tuscaloosa its second devastating loss in as many days. 

But then Paul turned on the jets, outran Allen to the ball, and delivered what very well may have been the biggest goal in program history. 

“I was determined to get that in the net. I think I would’ve died before I didn’t get that in the net,” Paul said. 

Wes Hart just smiled when asked about his star player. “GP did what GP does.” 

Last season’s run to the national semifinals was no fluke. The University of Alabama, a school that has been decidedly mediocre at soccer since its first season in 1986, is officially a powerhouse. 

“Give Alabama credit. Those kids were tough,” said Dorrance, whose time at North Carolina spans six decades, during which he has won 21 NCAA championships and coached the U.S. women’s national team to victory in the first-ever Women’s World Cup back in 1991.

The sky’s the limit for this Alabama squad, which remains undefeated through eight games, having allowed just three goals on the season, with a roster littered with future All-SEC and even All-American players.

The Crimson Tide opens SEC play right here at the Alabama Soccer Stadium against a very good Georgia Bulldogs team Thursday. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. and be broadcast on SEC Network. 

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