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 drops first conference game, still third in SEC

The Alabama women’s soccer team had a two-game home stretch versus two ranked teams this weekend.

The Crimson Tide, who is currently in the lead in the SEC West with 11 points, tied the sixth-ranked Florida Gators Friday night before falling to the South Carolina Gamecocks 2-1 Sunday.

After a scoreless first half in the Florida game, the Gators scored quickly in the second half when Thanai Travis scored two minutes into the half.

With the clock nearing the 89th minute, the Tide broke through. The frequent connection of Brooke Rogers and Victoria Frederick produced the tying goal for Alabama. Frederick got behind the Gator defense and found Rogers deep in the box for a one-touch score.

“We had a corner kick and we knew had to capitalize,” Rogers said. “Freddie had great vision with a perfect pass to me.”

Alabama, who is playing its best soccer since 1995 in terms of SEC play, relied much on keeper Justine Bernier, who recorded 10 saves in the game with three coming in the second overtime period.

Rogers’ goal ended up being the tying goal, as Alabama – who came in 13-0-1 versus Florida – added another tie to that record. The Tide moved to 8-2-2 overall and 3-0-2 in SEC play.

“I am so proud of how we played until the final whistle,” Alabama head coach Todd Bramble said. “We never gave up hope, and to get that late goal says a lot about this team. Tonight we showed we are closing the gap.”

With the day off on Saturday, Sunday the Tide would face 15th-ranked South Carolina in the Power of Pink presented by Tuscaloosa Toyota match. USC and Alabama were tied for second in the SEC with 11 points. A win would clinch a spot in the SEC tournament, which requires 14 points. A victory could also land Alabama in the national rankings for the first time in the program’s history.

The game became physical fast with two yellow cards being awarded, one to each team. The Gamecocks, who are the defending SEC tournament champions, scored first when Kayla Grimsley was awarded a penalty kick. Grimsley got the ball past Bernier to the left side in the 12th minute.

Quickly the Tide sparked off an attack, and in the 38th minute, freshman Ariel Armijo found Linsday Sillers, who beat the Gamecocks’ keeper and scored.

With just three minutes left in the first half, Grimsley was once more awarded a penalty kick. The kick went inside the far back post, making the score 2-1 where it would remain for the entire game. It was the Tide’s first SEC loss and third of the season.

“We clearly did not have as much in the emotional tank as we did on Friday,” Bramble said. “We haven’t had this bad feeling for awhile. We are a good team; we just can’t let this effect us moving forward. The thing I am going to point out to our team is that they only scored on penalty kicks.”

Rogers said, “It is a better feeling than a team scoring twice on regular goals. If a team has to beat us on penalty kicks, we know our defense is doing good. We just need to fix the problem where we foul in the box.”

The Tide, who is now third in the SEC, face Vanderbilt on Friday night and Kentucky on Sunday, both on the road. With a win, the Tide will be awarded three points, giving Alabama the required 14 points to make the SEC tournament. LSU trails Alabama by three points for the SEC West lead.

“The season is not over yet,” Bramble said. “We are not happy until we get there.”

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