The Season Starts Here: Soccer begins 2022 campaign at Florida Atlantic

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

Regular season fall sports are upon us for 2022. 

The soccer team opens its post-exhibition slate of games with a road trip to the Sunshine State, the first stop of which is in Boca Raton, Florida, against Florida Atlantic. That contest, set for Aug. 18, follows a 3-1 exhibition win by the Crimson Tide over Vanderbilt in Tuscaloosa.  

Alabama will be playing its first competitive match since taking a 1-0 victory against Clemson for the program’s first NCAA Tournament win. In 2021, Alabama went 11-10-1 with a strong home mark of 10-2. 

The Owls are making their season debut as well. In 2021, the team went 6-7-5, winning just three of its 10 home matches. They did win the season opener, but they only claimed two non-conference games. 

Alabama, meanwhile, won six non-conference matches in 2021, but didn’t snag any wins in regular season road games. The Crimson Tide’s lone victory in hostile territory came by way of the Clemson outcome in the postseason. 

However, Alabama returns all its starters from the 2021 team to the 2022 roster. 

To make the season debut a success, the Crimson Tide will need to carry its exhibition strengths into the matchup with the Owls. That will mean more offense from forwards Riley Mattingly Parker and Gianna Paul. Mattingly Parker scored two goals, each assisted by Paul in the exhibition.  

Paul earned praise from head coach Wes Hart for her speed, with Hart saying she would be “a nightmare for teams to defend.”  

The Crimson Tide also out-shot the Commodores in the game, 11-5. Six of Alabama’s shots were on goal, compared to just two for Vanderbilt. 

Speaking of defense, it was also effective for Alabama against Vanderbilt. The only Commodore score came in the 85th minute, with Hart saying his team “could have killed the game off a little bit better.”  

Effective communication on the part of the experienced Alabama unit proved to be a nightmare for their gold-clad opposition, as they failed to mount sustained offense for much of the match, especially in the first half. The Crimson Tide did a good job getting to the ball all evening. McKinley Crone was also able to effectively protect the net, recording a save.  

Scoring fast will also be a big part of the game plan to open the regular year. Midfielder Kate Henderson logged the first goal of the campaign with her score, assisted by junior Gessica Skorka, just 11 minutes into the exhibition. Mattingly Parker scored her first goal in the 24th minute, with some 20 minutes to play in the first half. 

In addition to creating scoring opportunities for themselves, and limiting them for Florida Atlantic, converting early could dictate the momentum of the match for a significant amount of time. 

Reflecting offensive chances on the scoreboard quickly, like in the exhibition, and stifling the Owls on defense will be the keys to starting 1-0 for Alabama. 

Kickoff for the match is set for 6 p.m. CT on