By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Marquis Munson)

By Marquis Munson | Staff Reporter

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team has battled with the LSU Tigers over the years. Even though that rivalry will never hold up against their in-state rival the Auburn Tigers, the Crimson Tide circles the LSU game on their schedule every year because of the competitiveness and impact that game has in the SEC. The Crimson Tide leads that series 49-25-5 that includes a victory over the Tigers in the 2012 BCS National Championship.

The Alabama Crimson Tide soccer team has developed a similar rivalry with the LSU Tigers, just on a different field. Although this is coach Wes Hart’s first season with the Crimson Tide, he understands the importance of a rivalry game against a team like LSU.

“It makes things a lot more exciting,” Hart said. “Two teams can be completely mismatched on paper, but because there is so much emotions involved it still doesn’t matter. You can throw stats and talent out the window, and emotions can take you a long way. It’s a great part of athletics.”

Hart knows a thing or two about rivalries in soccer. In his two years as assistant coach for the Florida State Seminoles, Hart witnessed their rivalry with the Florida Gators. The Gators lead that series 10-12 and defeated Hart and the Seminoles 
during their national championship 
season in 2014.

“We would always draw the biggest crowds when we played them, and it makes for an exciting atmosphere,” Hart said.

Hart is stepping into a 20-game rivalry between Alabama and LSU, where the Crimson Tide holds a 10-7-3 lead against the Tigers. The Crimson Tide won the first five meetings of the series and has won nine of the first 11. The Tigers have won six of nine since then.

Last season, the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers 3-2 in double overtime in Baton Rouge. Alabama’s Theresa Diederich scored the final goal from the top of the box and off the crossbar with an assist by Maruschka Waldus and Abby Lutzenkirchen in the 93rd minute.

“It was exciting,” Lutzenkirchen said. “I play center back so I’m not one to get a lot of assists or goals. So being able to help the team get a clutch overtime win like that was really cool for me.”

Diederich and Waldus have graduated from Alabama, but defender/midfielder Abby Lutzenkirchen remains on the team for this year’s matchup. Alongside Lutzenkirchen, returning in this game is goalkeeper Emily Rusk.

“They have a lot of returners this season,” Rusk said. “It’s always a good game against them, so it should be a lot of fun. We definitely know their style of play, so I think we’ll just continue to study that throughout the week.”

This season, with eight players returning in the starting lineup, the Tigers are starting off strong with a record of 4-0-2. Alabama has struggled recently with a record of 1-3-2, winning their only game in their home opener against the Troy Trojans, but the team looks to find their momentum beating by their undefeated rival at home this Friday.

“LSU is an SEC opponent, and they’re strong, fast, and always have technical players,” Lutzenkirchen said. “We prepare for them like any other game, but there is just a different vibe going into SEC games, because these results matter on if we make the SEC tournament in November. There is more riding on this game than non-conference.”

The teams will meet tonight at 7 p.m., and Alabama will host Southern Miss on Sunday, also at 7 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports