Soccer gets shutout win over Florida Atlantic in delayed season opener


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama forward Riley Tanner (12) heads a ball in the Crimson Tide’s 4-0 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls on August 19 at the FAU Soccer Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

The weather on Thursday in Boca Raton wasn’t cooperative, so the regular season opener for Alabama soccer neither started nor finished on time. After an overnight gap between kickoff and the final whistle, the Crimson Tide came away with a 4-0 victory over Florida Atlantic on Friday morning. 

Thursday’s festivities began with a goal in the opening minute of the game when forward Riley Mattingly Parker scored on a corner kick opportunity. Despite more than six minutes of ensuing action, the Owls failed to even the score.  

Subsequently, a lengthy weather delay led to the remainder of the match being postponed to Friday morning.  

Despite this, the floodgates didn’t truly open until that time, with Alabama scoring its final three goals across roughly 18 minutes of action to round out the scoring.  

The offense spread the ball around well, with four different players entering the scoring column. 

Defender Marianna Annest opened Friday’s scoring with less than a minute to play in the first half. After several minutes of possessing the ball in the opposing half of the pitch, the conversion sent the Crimson Tide to the break with a 2-0 advantage. 

Kate Henderson scored the first goal of the Vanderbilt exhibition and got another one less than two minutes into the second half of the regular season. 

The final goal of the contest came on forward Riley Tanner’s header in the 62nd minute. 

Macy Clem, Felicia Knox and Gessica Skorka each logged one assist on the day. For Skorka, Friday’s assist was her third since the exhibition. 

Once again, the offense was firing on all cylinders from a possession perspective. In addition to striking fast in the scoring department, Alabama dictated the pace of the game and challenged the Owls defensively. Florida Atlantic was unable to keep up with the offensive output of the visitors and unable to muster many good opportunities to score.  

“I thought the team handled [the weather delay] awesome,” head coach Wes Hart said. “Having the 1-0 lead coming into today was nice, but we weren’t content trying to sit on the lead for 80-plus minutes.” 

Alabama had 13 shots to just five for the Owls. Nine of the Crimson Tide’s shots were on goal, compared to just two for the home team. Alabama also had nine corners, to Florida Atlantic’s two. 

Florida Atlantic collected four saves, while Alabama goalkeeper McKinley Crone started the season with two saves. 

“I was very pleased with our play on both sides of the ball,” Hart said. “We were able to attack in a variety of ways.”  

“I thought we had some good spells of sustained possession and territory throughout,” he said.

Hart described his defense as stingy and added that he “loved ending the game with a clean sheet,” after Vanderbilt scored a shutout-breaking goal in the 85th minute of the exhibition. 

The Crimson Tide will next travel to Coral Gables, Florida, to take on the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday. 

“We have a quick turnaround before our game versus Miami, but we played a lot of players and spread out playing time,” Hart said. “We should be well rested and ready to go.” 

Kickoff for that match is slated for 4 p.m. CT on ESPN+.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]