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 soccer bounces back with 4-1 home win over LSU

CW / Jennifer Stroud
Alabama forward Itala Gemelli (#29) runs with the ball while being chased by a defender.

Pressure was on Alabama soccer to come out strong following a 3-1 road loss to Texas A&M last Sunday. In a game where they risked falling into last place in the SEC West, the Crimson Tide responded in a big way with a 4-1 win over the LSU Tigers.  

“I think we had a little bit of desperation that we hadn’t seen from ourselves in other games,” defender Brooke Steere said. “There was a sense of urgency that we had to get goals in the back of the net.” 

But don’t be fooled by the final score. This was a competitive soccer game.  

It started with Taylor Dobles. LSU’s graduate senior forward beat goalkeeper Coralie Lallier in the ninth minute for her 10th career goal to put the Tigers up 1-0, much to the panic of the 978 fans in attendance.  

However, Alabama remained composed.  

“Nothing about our gameplan changes, nothing about our mentality should change,” defender Marianna Annest said of the early deficit. “We stick to what we know how to do, and I think we do it well, so there was no doubt that we were going to find our way through that. … There was certainly no panic.” 

The lack of panic became clear just 11 minutes later when defender Gessica Skorka found freshman midfielder Nadia Ramadan for the equalizer. It was Ramadan’s third goal in four games, and it served as a complete momentum shifter.  

“Our team is built on momentum and sometimes we just need a little kickstart,” Annest said of Ramadan’s goal.  

Another nine minutes later and it was senior Felicia Knox’s turn. The 2022 SEC Midfielder of the Year scored on a beautiful set piece from forward Itala Gemelli and Skorka.  

This goal particularly pleased head coach Wes Hart, whose team has struggled with creating and scoring off set pieces.  

“We must’ve had 15 or 20 [goals off of] set pieces [last season], Hart said. “And you take that out of the equation, and I mean, it’s the reason why our offense production wise hasn’t been what it was. I thought tonight we created set pieces, we earned corner kicks, we earned fouls. We wanted to put this keeper under pressure, we wanted to have to make her make decisions.” 

Alabama entered the half with a 2-1 lead, just the third time the team has held a halftime lead in its 10 games against Power Five opponents this year.  

It didn’t take long for the lead to grow.  

Just 67 seconds into the second period, Annest took matters into her own hands (or in this case, feet), sliding through contact to score one of the more entertaining goals of the season.  

Then Steere joined in on the fun. The senior defender found the back of the net for the first time of the season off a header in the 59th minute to give the Crimson Tide a three-goal cushion. 

The Tigers, though, are a pesky team. Just three weeks ago, they scored three goals in the final 15 minutes to stun the Georgia Bulldogs, who had held a 2-0 lead.  

Alabama’s defense held strong and ensured there would be no such upset tonight.  

“We kind of pride ourselves in being a scrappy, blue-collar mentality type team,” Hart said postgame. “Tonight, we came to play.” 

One notable aspect of this game was the amount of players who appeared for the Crimson Tide.  

“It was big for us tonight,” Hart said of the six reserves who got onto the pitch. “I think that helped us without question. We are getting to a point in our season where people are starting to break down a little bit. We had two starters tonight who were questionable, kind of last-minute decisions [one of them being Brooke Steere] to play so we had to rely on some players who haven’t played as many minutes.” 

Hart’s team has just three regular season games left to play. At 9-3-4, Alabama holds the No. 24 ranking in the country, the lowest they’ve been ranked all year. The Crimson Tide is still in solid shape but will need to hold strong to secure a spot in the SEC tournament in Pensacola, which starts in just over two weeks.  

“Every team in the SEC is hungry,” Annest said. “We are not excluded from that. We had an awesome season last season, but we can’t by any means rest on our laurels. We need to battle in every single game in the SEC.” 

Spirits appear to be sky-high among the team right now. The Crimson Tide now prepares to head to Oxford on Thursday, looking to end its three-game road losing streak. The contest with Ole Miss will start at 6 p.m. and be broadcast on SEC Network+. 

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