Soccer hands Utah Valley first loss of season in road trip finale


Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama forward Ashlynn Serepca (19) dribbles the ball past a defender in the Crimson Tide’s 4-1 win over the Utah Valley Wolverines on Sept. 6 at Clyde Field in Orem, Utah.

Will Miller, Staff Reporter

It was back to the win column for the soccer team in the third and final game of its Utah road trip. After a Sunday draw with The University of Utah, the Crimson Tide will take a 4-1 victory over the Utah Valley University Wolverines (3-1-2) back to Tuscaloosa with them. 

Alabama (5-1-1) got back to what it does best in Tuesday’s match, scoring early and tacking on goals in both halves. Forward Ashlynn Serepca got on the board first with her first goal of the season in the sixth minute. Three minutes later, the corner came through for the Crimson Tide again with the Felicia Knox-Reyna Reyes connection, which also notched the tying goal against Utah Sunday night. 

For Reyes, the score was her second in as many games. 

It’s tough to find somebody as prolific on offense right now as Riley Mattingly Parker, who in the 22nd minute scored her fifth goal of the season. She has been named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the past two weeks in a row. Never one to miss an opportunity, she was there to capitalize on a defensive miscue by the Wolverines. 

In the 46th minute, Utah Valley got one back off the right foot of Sydney Bushman. The Wolverines had a couple of other looks that were stopped by McKinley Crone, who played the entire match and had five saves.  

Utah Valley trotted out two goalkeepers, Idalia Serrano and Leah Wolf. Wolf gave up the last goal of the day to midfielder/forward Kate Henderson in the 71st minute. The Wolverines had begun to unravel defensively by this point. 

Coming off the draw against Utah, this was a match where Alabama showed the strengths it has had all season controlling territory, extending leads, minimizing defensive mistakes and forcing other teams into errors. All of these came into play. 

Head coach Wes Hart was pleased with Tuesday’s result and with the team’s showing during the road trip. 

“Three games in six days is not easy, especially when you factor in altitude, heat and the quality of our opponents,” Hart said. “We challenged our team with this schedule and the team has answered and then some.” 

Hart said the goals were a reward for dominating the ball, territory and chances. He praised Mattingly Parker’s impressive start. 

“Riley Parker is doing exactly what we expect her to,” Hart said. “She’s a striker and her job is to score goals. She feels confident right now … I’m incredibly happy for Riley. She’s worked her tail off to get fit, sharp after her injury. She looks great.” 

Mattingly Parker missed the entire 2021 season due to injury. 

The Utah road trip is now complete, with a 2-0-1 slate that saw wins over the Wolverines and then-No. 6-ranked Brigham Young University. Conference play will begin in a little more than a week. 

“I think our team is confident heading into SEC play next week,” Hart said. “We’ve faced some incredibly difficult challenges, both at home and on the road. We’ve played some very good soccer at times and grinded out results at other times. I’m excited to see where we will go from here.” 

Before that, North Alabama awaits a match in Tuscaloosa. The contest is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11, and will kick off at 5 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.

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