Women’s soccer turns page against Auburn

Forty-eight long days without a win came to an end for Alabama women’s soccer on Friday night, who beat rival No. 15 Auburn 1-0 in its last game of the regular season. The win marked Alabama’s second-straight against Auburn and the first win in the plains since 1988. 

Nine of Alabama’s 10 previous games had also been decided by a single goal. 

Junior goalkeeper McKinley Crone delivered Alabama’s first shutout since last October’s 3-0 game against Louisiana State University. Auburn challenged Crone early by creating two one-on-one situations, which put her against two Auburn attackers alone. Crone was able to keep the ball from going to the back of the net. Crone finished the game with three saves. 

The Alabama defense must try to prevent Crone from getting into one-on-one situations when they enter the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament next weekend. That is how opponents have found success in scoring goals this season. 

A successful tactic from the Alabama defense throughout the game was to “sandwich” one player on each side of an opponent whenever they tried to push the ball toward the Alabama goal. The defense finished off the game strong not allowing Auburn to put a shot off in the final 27 minutes of the game. 

Sophomore Reyna Reyes slowed down the Auburn attack and won several challenges. The defense has proved through the course of the season that they tend to struggle toward the end, so Reyes will be key to keeping Alabama’s possession alive in tournament play. 

The game’s lone goal came in the 37th minute from the Kansas native and freshman Felicia Knox. Knox put just enough behind the ball to bobble out of the hands of the Auburn goalkeeper and head into the net. Knox is now tied for the most goals on the team with two. 

Despite failing to score, the Tigers’ offense put up impressive shooting numbers. The Tigers outshot Alabama, 12-7, and placed more corner kicks than the Crimson Tide, 7-2. But the Alabama defense was just good enough to spoil Auburn’s opportunities – and they also had a little luck on their side. Auburn forward Hailey Whitaker almost tied the game at one in the 56th minute. The ball snuck past Crone, but bounced off the goal post. 

With the win, Alabama has put itself in the highest possible standing, 11th place, to head into the SEC tournament next weekend. 

But the tournament won’t be easy for The Crimson Tide. Alabama must find a way to limit its fouls – a category that it leads the SEC in by 20. The Crimson Tide out fouled the Tigers Friday night, 13-5. Junior Kaitlyn Madden drew a yellow card in the second half, which is the team’s ninth of the season.

The bracket for the SEC tournament is scheduled to come out later this week. The tournament will be located in Orange Beach, Ala. and will last from Nov. 13 through Nov. 22.