Dominating second half propels soccer to 4-0 victory


CW / Hannah Saad

Hannah Saad, Assistant Photo Editor

After a scoreless first half, Alabama’s dominating possession time finally translated to a scoring fest as the Crimson Tide defeated South Alabama 4-0 in the team’s final exhibition game.

Freshman Macy Clem was the first to find the back of the net for Alabama off a corner kick in the 57th minute of the game. Three more goals during the next 15 minutes following Clem’s goal sealed the victory.

The Crimson Tide controlled the ball throughout the game, possessing the ball for 72% of the match. Alabama posted 22 shots throughout the game and held South Alabama to zero shots in the second half and two shots for the entire game. During the second half, Alabama continued to force USA into giving up corner kicks, which led to Alabama converting on two of its corner kick chances.

Head coach Wes Hart used the game to give experience to some of the team’s 11 freshmen, with five of them starting against South Alabama and nine overall seeing playing time. Hart said that a game experience cannot be replicated and that it was important for the freshmen to have those experiences.

“Our freshmen more than met my expectations. They didn’t look like freshmen out there,” Hart said. “They looked calm, physical and composed and players that could contribute right off the bat.”

The returning players contributed their share to the Tide’s victory, with sophomore Riley Mattingly chipping in a penalty kick goal and three assists and juniors Casey Wertz and Taylor Morgan adding a goal apiece.

Alabama’s lone senior, Nealy Martin, attributed the team’s on-field chemistry to off-field habits.

“Relationally, we’re like a family, and I think you can see that translate onto the field,” Martin said.

Going into the non-conference portion of its schedule, Hart said he doesn’t want the team to get too wrapped up in the past two wins, but it’s good to go into the season with momentum.

Alabama opens its season at home against Brigham Young University on Aug. 22.