Soccer stuns No. 6 BYU on the road


Courtesy of UA Athletics

The Alabama soccer team celebrates following its 3-2 win over the No. 6 BYU Cougars on Sept. 1 at South Field in Provo, Utah.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

Make that two straight top-25 wins for the Alabama soccer team.  

The emphatic 3-0 victory over then-18th ranked Clemson was a stellar way to send Alabama back on the road, and then they got the job done once more on Thursday. 

The Crimson Tide (4-1) walked into Provo, Utah, for the first of three games in a western road trip and swept the rug out from under the sixth-ranked BYU Cougars (2-1-1), winning 3-2 and avenging its defeat in the 2021 NCAA tournament. 

Oh, and Riley Mattingly Parker scored again. 

Her header in the 16th minute was her fourth of the season and evened the game up following an early BYU goal.  

Midfielder Felicia Knox sent a penalty kick to the back of the net five minutes later and gave Alabama the lead, turning the game on its head. The winner came off the leg of freshman forward Gianna Paul, who recorded her second goal in as many games, mere seconds after that. 

Apart from the momentum-changing offensive outburst, the Crimson Tide defense was impeccable for virtually the entire match. BYU was able to create looks, and even scored firstthe first Cougars goal came with Rachel McCarthy in the right spot after Reyna Reyes fell down.  

The group didn’t let playing from behind get to them. 

What do the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl, the 1979 Sugar Bowl and Alabama-BYU on Sept. 1, 2022 have in common? 

The offense made their best chances count, and the defense won the day. 

“There’s going to be ebbs and flows and you need to be able to manage them,” head coach Wes Hart said. “We made the most of our chances and did an incredible job defending one of the top attacking teams in the country.” 

The last time the other team scored first represents Alabama’s lone loss of the campaign so far.  

“We did not let the goal against rattle us,” Hart said. “Instead, we came back and scored three fantastic goals.” 

As the night wore on, BYU commanded territory but couldn’t score again for much of the rest of the way. They failed to create on offense because the Alabama defense remained tenacious and rarely let the ball get behind them. McKinley Crone had a season-high seven saves. The misses mounted, and so did the frustration. 

In the 42nd minute, BYU finally got Alabama to foul in the penalty area, but Jamie Shepherd missed the kick just left. Crone had it read.  

The Crimson Tide stuck to the lead and maintained the primary strength of the match during the second half. Things began to get emotional with a top-10 team having its back against the wall.  

In a span of 18 minutes, there were five combined yellow cards issued.  

BYU had presumably intended to win with its strength as a second-half scoring team. In fact, the first goal of the game was their first score in the first half this season. This did not come to pass. 

BYU outshot Alabama by double digits, 21-11, but lost the corner battle, and Cougars goalkeeper Savanna Mason had only one save. 

“They took the game over and had a lot more territory and chances than us, but that is the game,” Hart said. 

The Cougars made it a game again with Brecken Mozingo’s score in the 83rd minute. There was a noticeable shift in energy from the players in royal blue from this point forward, and BYU had one final chance to tie it with less than 10 seconds to go. 

The final shot, from Kendell Petersen, sailed high and out of play. Alabama had staved off the tie. With that, the 2021 NCAA tournament gauntlet is complete. 

“Key takeaways … back-to-back wins against two very good opponents,” Hart said. “Winning on the road against a top-6 team in a very difficult place to play, scoring some great goals, defending our tails off, so many positives.” 

Alabama will next face Utah on Sunday, Sept. 4, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CT on Pac-12 Network.

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