Tori Gann makes Alabama soccer victorious in first home game

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No. 12 Tori Gann CW File

Matthew Speakman

A storm almost stopped Tori Gann from having the best game of her young career, as the sophomore led Alabama to a 5-0 victory over Sam Houston State in the first home game of the season. After only scoring one goal in her freshman season, Gann found the back of the net twice in the first half.

Gann felt comfortable the moment she stepped on the field, and she decided to take advantage of just her second start in a Crimson Tide uniform.

“Last year I was more nervous as a freshman,” Gann said. “I think that this year I am way more excited to play and I am more comfortable on the ball. I don’t really get pregame jitters anymore.”

Gann netted the team’s first and second goals of the game. The first came from a cross from sophomore Emma Welch, while the second was preceded by a brilliant piece of attacking play from Gann herself. 

Coach Wes Hart knew he could turn to Gann to step up.

“Last year we used primarily to come in the game as a sub and brought energy,” he said. “Because of an injury she was called upon to start this game and she had a fantastic start to the game and got us on the board. I was very pleased with how she performed tonight.”

Aside from Gann, sophomore Emma Welch, who was named to the preseason All-SEC watchlist, lit up the left side of the field, assisting on a goal and adding one of her own. Welch led the team in assists last year with four, so to see her involved in scoring chances was no surprise for the team.

“Emma just gives you so much,” Hart said. “She is such a threat on the dribble.”

Alabama dominated straight from the kickoff, pushing forward early and often. The Crimson Tide was the better team in many aspects of the game, not only outshooting the Bearkats 17-2, but controlling possession for most of the first half. Going into halftime, Alabama had a 3-0 lead and all of the momentum behind Gann’s two goals and one from senior Auburn Mercer.

That momentum carried into the second half, with Alabama scoring twice off of Welch and junior Lacey Clarida. Alabama ended up outshooting Sam Houston State 36-3 as the final buzzer sounded. 

Hart believes this is exactly the start the team needed in order to try and pull off a successful season for his second year as head coach.

“We had confidence coming into the game,” Hart said. “Hopefully we build on this and continue to grow our confidence. We were able to get a lot of people minutes. Just about everyone on the team saw minutes. That will be important for us.”

Alabama will look to build off of its victory when it takes on Murray State on Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.