By Matthew Speakman | Staff Reporter
Many teams are tested before they can prove to be successful. They have to face a challenge to show that the team will prevail in tough situations. On Sunday, Alabama Soccer faced a tough test in Murray State before coming out with a win in the end, 4-2.
The Crimson Tide conceded two goals early in the game to fall behind 2-0 going into halftime. Coming out in the second half, head coach Wes Hart, knew his team needed to change something.
“For whatever reason in the first half we did not look like the first game,” Hart said. “We challenged them at halftime and got into them a bit. We basically said, ‘Look our tactics mean nothing if we are not going to out and compete and work and fight and scrap.’”
Junior Lacey Clarida said emotions were high in the locker room at halftime. The team knew they could come back, but it was all about going out and proving it.
“We knew we could beat this team,” Clarida said. “We came out in the second half not wanting to sit back, so we wanted to press them and play aggressive and get to goal any way we can. I think we did that really well.”
Alabama sparked in the second half, showing that the team can rally behind one another when facing a deficit. When the Crimson Tide drew level with Murray State at 2-2 after goals from Clarida and freshman Logue Shamburger, the team did not want to stop there. They wanted the win.
Clarida scored once again to give Alabama the lead when the junior forward finished on an assist from senior Abbie Boswell. Moments later, Boswell found the back of the net herself for Alabama, allowing The Crimson Tide to coast to a 4-2 victory in a hard-fought game.
“Every game you want to take as many shots as you can,” Clarida said. “When we came back in the second half, we had a lot of aggressiveness towards goal. Eventually we knew that they were going to find the back of the net, because we were getting chance after chance.”
Even though Alabama came out with a victory, Hart believes this game can be a learning experience. No team ever wants to fall behind in a game, but it does show the coaching staff how the players will perform when tested. It shows Hart that his players grew up.
“I think this team has a bit more confidence, a bit more swagger and a bit more belief,” Hart said. “Last year’s team, I don’t believe we’d come back from that game. Last year, we found a way to dig back into games where we were down a goal. Even when we fought back into tie it, we would end up losing at the end.”
Hart spoke highly of the maturity and resiliency of this year’s team. Having played two games in the regular season, Alabama has been able to find a rhythm on the offensive end that has led to many goals.
Depth was key for Alabama. With many players, including junior Celia Jimenez, missing tonight’s game, the team needed younger and inexperienced players to step up. Shamburger was one of those players for the Crimson Tide, as she subbed in on the wing and created chances. Hart said having a young player being involved with the attack was huge for Alabama.
“You can see her confidence raise and you players around her believe in her a bit more,” Hart said. “She gives us a spark and an energy off of the bench. She has the ability to take players on the dribble and beat them. What a big time goal from her to bring the ball down in the box and find the back of the net.”
Alabama now improves to 2-0 after the win on Sunday. So far, Alabama has been able to score nine goals in their first two regular season home games of the season, despite missing its leading scorer, Jimenez, from last season.
After falling behind for the first time in two games, the Crimson Tide believes it has the confidence to pull out games in tough situations.
“We may be better off in the long run,” Hart said. “We are showing that the team is going to believe. Hopefully we will have more belief and add more confidence knowing that if we do dig ourselves in a hole that we can get out of it.”
The Crimson Tide will look to continue their hot streak when the team faces off against Campbell on Aug. 26 in Tuscaloosa.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports