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

UA soccer team pushes through injury

With a successful weekend under its belt, The University of Alabama soccer team is preparing to travel to Athens, Ga., for its first away game in two weeks.

The Crimson Tide (4-6, 2-1 SEC) was shut out in its most recent away game against Florida. Alabama has since faced Vanderbilt and Tennessee, winning both games. Coach Todd Bramble said last weekend’s game was the breakout performance the team needed.

“They never lost hope, never lost focus and they stayed positive,” Bramble said. “They kept working hard and believing in each other and what we are doing, and that for sure paid off. It’s a good quality for the team to have.”

But before the Crimson Tide can head to Georgia, the team must be prepared to step up to the challenge now that sophomore Merel Van Dongen is out for the season.

Van Dongen, originally from the Netherlands, hasn’t played for Alabama since Sept. 15 against UAB. Van Dongen was back in the Netherlands training for the 2015 World Cup when she sustained a leg injury that would sideline her for the rest of the year.

“It was certainly a week of mixed emotions for us,” Bramble said in a UA press release announcing the injury. “One minute we are celebrating Merel being in camp with the full national team for the beginning of their World Cup qualifying campaign. Shortly thereafter, we learn she injured her leg while training with the team.”

Van Dongen was not available for comment, but Bramble said the rest of the team was ready to step up before heading to Georgia.

“While this is a big blow for her personally and for us as a team, the fighting spirit and competitiveness she brought to the field lives on within us,” Bramble said. “On top of that, we have a talented squad of players who are more than willing to rise to the challenge of filling her shoes.”

Of the many ready to take the challenge, Noelle Sanz a freshman California, has been shining on the field. She has started in every game since UAB, though she did see nine minutes of the Memphis game.

“It’s an honor to be able to start,” Sanz said. “It’s a lot of pressure as a freshman, but I just take it as a great opportunity and try to play well every game.”

Sanz, a member of the Costa Rican National Team, has played both stateside and overseas. Sanz said her overseas experiences have helped her grow as a player.

“Playing for Costa Rica is a lot of fun because [you get to] travel to all the different places,” Sanz said. “You gain a lot of experience just by playing. It’s a really big honor to play for Costa Rica and play for Alabama.”

Bramble said Sanz is a composed player, especially after being placed into a starting position.

“She has natural instincts,” Bramble said. “She really sees the game well and how the game is going around her. She has connected well with our team and our style.”

After taking on Georgia, the Crimson Tide will face LSU at home Sunday.


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