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

Tide takes on Florida in first televised game

After winning their last game 2-1 against Arkansas last weekend, the Alabama soccer team is set to take on No. 6 Florida on Friday. The Crimson Tide is currently ranked No. 1 in the SEC West and is one of three unbeaten teams in conference play, along with Florida and South Carolina.

Head coach Todd Bramble considers Florida to be the team’s strongest opponent this season and talked about the team’s preparations for the game.

“We’re trying to keep ourselves sharp because we’re playing really well now,” Bramble said. “But we also need to prepare for facing the best opponent that we’ve faced this year, which means that we’re going to be under a lot of pressure and we’re going to have to defend more in this game on Friday night than we have against any team this year. So, we just need to get mentally prepared for that.”

Bramble said the team has to stay compact defensively. Offensively, the team has to limit touches and move the ball around by taking one or two touches between passes.

Junior defender K.K. Duffy talked about what the team has to do defensively to stop Florida.

“They’re going to be fast,” Duffy said. “As a back line, and with [goalkeeper] Justine [Bernier], we have to be really tight and talk a lot. We can shut them down.”

Bernier has broken records this season with her tally of 13 shutouts this season.

Senior forward Victoria Frederick talked about the team’s preparation for Florida.

“This week we’re working on being sharp on the ball, cleaning up and refining everything,” Frederick said. “So that when we go in against Florida we’re on our game mentally, sharp and focused on playing well.”

Frederick leads the conference in assists and has six points in conference play this season.

The Tide’s last big game was against LSU and ended in a 0-0 tie. Bramble talked about the approach the team must take against Florida to avoid what happened in LSU.

“Where we struggled a little bit in our last big game against LSU was where we had some individuals in that game that were trying to do too much, trying to play different than they’ve played all year and got away from our team concept,” Bramble said. “We’ll have to resist that temptation on a big game on Friday night of having people out there trying to be difference makers and special players, but just stick with being the players that we are and staying together as a team. That might be good enough.”

Duffy also spoke on making the adjustments from last weekend to this weekend.

“We learned from this past weekend,” Duffy said. “The things that the other team did well were based on our mistakes on the ball.”

The crowd at the LSU game in Baton Rouge last week proved to have an impact on the game. There were 2,000 students and fans in the crowd to cheer on LSU in hopes of stopping the Tide from achieving a victory.

“They had a huge student section and it was a hostile crowd,” Bramble said. “It was a really energetic, electric environment and that made a difference in the game. It made it hard for us, and it really helped LSU on the night. If we could have that same home field advantage, that would be outstanding.”

The Tide hasn’t won a game against Florida since Alabama started playing the Gators in 1995. The only tie in the series came in 2005. Last season, the Tide lost to then-ranked No. 14 Florida 2-0.

Friday’s game could mark the end of a losing streak against Florida, with the Tide in the middle of one of its best seasons to date. The battle will be televised on FOX Sports.

“Again, this will be like a test,” Duffy said. “If we do what we’re talking about and just really come out and play like we know how to play, it’s going to show people nationally how far we’ve come in the past year.”

“It’s big because [Florida] is the first seed and we’re the third and South Carolina is the second. This weekend is important,” Frederick said.

Kick off is at 7 p.m. at the Alabama Soccer Stadium and will be airing on FOX Sports at the same time.

“I think it’s going to be an awesome game,” Duffy said. “We hope a lot of people come out and support us because it’s going to be a really good game. We really have started to accomplish things this year, and I think this will be a good test to see where we really are.”

More to Discover