By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Johnathan Anderson)

A brace from Casey Wertz proved the difference in a rain soaked matchup between Alabama and Memphis. Wertz’s strong offensive output led the Tide to a 2-0 win to give the Tide the start they were looking for.

The Crimson Tide welcomed the Tigers of Memphis for the start of their spring scrimmage season. It didn’t take the Crimson Tide long to knock the rust off as it opened the scoring in the second minute by way of the first of Wertz’s two goals. The freshman forward from Marietta, Ga. Made her presence known early and often as she netted home a pass from her roommate and fellow freshman forward Lily Truong.

“We started out with some energy and nipped an early goal,” said head coach Wes Hart. “It was a very good start to the game.”

The Tide doubled their lead after a succession of corners in the twelfth minute with the help of Wertz’s second goal of the game, a header from a pinpoint Emma Welsh cross that she nodded back the way it came and into the Memphis far post.

The Tigers responded very dramatically to the second goal, pressuring Alabama while carving out several clear chances that tested redshirt freshman Alex Plavin in goal. The 5-foot-6 shot-stopper from Atlanta was equal to them all, making two saves in quick succession to keep the Tide lead at two.

“They were able to get into the box {with} some point-blank shots,” Plavin said. “I was able to deflect those out and preserve the shutout.”

The Tide dominated possession for the remainder of the half and tested the Memphis goalkeeper with several shots from distance, but the Tide came were forced to go into halftime contempt with their 2-nil lead.

The second half was a free-flowing contest in which the Tide locked down the defense and prevented Memphis from creating very many chances. Alabama, on the other hand, seemed to carve through the Tiger defense and will find themselves unlucky not to have piled on a few extra goals.

Though Alabama will feel hard done not to have scored in the second half, they will be very pleased with the performance of their defense. Allowing Alabama to press high and maintain possession while keeping the Tigers pinned back, the defense stifled nearly every chance Memphis created in the second half.

“Communication between our back three has been really important to our team’s success,” Plavin said. “Another thing is our athleticism, as a team we’ve improved our fitness a lot. Those are the keys {to} why we got a shutout today.”

Abbie Boswell provided the highlight of the second half when her free kick forced a top-class save out of the Tiger’s keeper. The junior forward from Woodridge, Ill. curled her shot over the wall and left the goalie sprawling to make the save.

“We wanted to be organized defensively.” Hart said. “We need to do a better job in winning balls and not being so eager to get forward.”

The half finished as it began, with the Tide taking the 2-nil victory. Alabama will look to build upon this dominant performance with two road games on the horizon. A rematch with Clemson, the team that knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament last year, and Samford, who the Tide defeated 2-1 back in August at the beginning of the Fall season.

…read more

Source:: The Crimson White Sports