By firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Speakman)
In the middle of a three-game losing streak, Alabama knew it needed to win to get its confidence back. Facing Georgia, which Alabama has won four out of the last five games against, the team knew that the Bulldogs were the perfect opponent to get them back on the right track.
“The seniors before [the game] told us, ‘We are not losing. We have won three years in a row this is not the year we lose,'” said freshman Logue Shamburger.
Decked out in pink jerseys, the Crimson Tide used the emotion of both its Power of Pink and Senior nights. Alabama played in front of a sea pink, and cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs.
Head Coach Wes Hart said players found motivation in the team’s special 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 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 this 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 Georgia defense, and rewarded itself with a quick goal when Haley Brohaugh scored from short range.
Slow starts have plagued the Crimson Tide in SEC play, so to come out they way that it did was key, according to Hart.
“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 tied the game up.
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 point for Hart, and he said his team did just that.
“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 goal of the season. From there, the team would hold on to a 3-1 victory.
Confidence was key for the Crimson Tide, according to Hart. He said the mentality of the players before the game helped them in the team’s 3-1 victory. Translating that confidence to future SEC games is going to be Alabama’s main challenge moving forward.
“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, Florida. to take on the Florida Gators.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports