In the middle of a three-game losing streak, the Alabama soccer team knew it needed to win in order to get its confidence back. Facing Georgia, a team Alabama has defeated in four out of the last five games, the Crimson Tide knew the Bulldogs were the perfect opponent to get it back on the right track.
“The seniors before told us, ‘We are not losing. We have won three years in a row. This is not the year we lose,'” freshman Logue Shamburger said.
Decked out in pink jerseys, the Crimson Tide used the emotion of both its Power of Pink and Senior night. Alabama played in front of a sea pink, and cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs.
Alabama coach Wes Hart believes the players found motivation in the team’s special Power of Pink and senior night.
“Some were motivated because perhaps they had a loved one or a family or friend with cancer,” he said. “Some were motivated because they were a senior and this could be their last hoorah. Some wanted to play hard for the seniors. Each and every individual was playing with a different motivation.”
The team honored seniors Jordan Meier, Caroline Alexander and Auburn Mercer before the match started, a combo that helped Alabama to its winning record thus far.
Shamburger believes this senior class brought a different mentality to this team coming into the season.
“From this summer when we came in, they kind of showed us what Alabama was about” she said. “This year, we’re going at a whole different side of everything. We’re trying to make it to the tournament, because they didn’t last season. It’s a whole different philosophy.”
The Crimson Tide came out eager to attack the Bulldogs’ defense and rewarded itself with a quick goal when Haley Brohaugh scored from short range for Alabama.
Slow starts have plagued the Crimson Tide in SEC play, so Hart thought to come out the way that it did was key.
“You never want to start by digging yourself into a hole,” Hart said. “It is certainly a lot more enjoyable when you come out and start well.”
Even after going down in the opening minutes, it did not take Georgia long to tie it up. Two minutes later, the Bulldogs’ Caroline Waters evened out the score.
After about 30 minutes of a possession battle, junior Lacey Clarida converted on a penalty kick to give the Crimson Tide the lead back.
Responding after giving up a goal has been a key factor for Hart, and he saw that Thursday.
“I was really pleased,” he said. “It could’ve easily deflated us, but it didn’t. We responded well and went back out and kept attacking.”
Alabama was able to get another goal early in the second half when Shamburger scored her second of the season. From there, the team would hold on to its 3-1 victory.
Confidence was key for the Crimson Tide. Hart said the mentality of the players before the game helped them to end the losing streak. Alabama’s main challenge moving forward, though, is going to be translating that confidence to future SEC games.
“We need to start believing that we can beat anybody,” Hart said.
With the win, Alabama improves to 8-6-1 on the season, with a 3-4-1 record in conference play.
Next up for the Crimson Tide is a road trip to Gainesville, Floriday, on Oct. 20 to take on the Gators.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports