Even after out shooting its opponent by a wide margin, Alabama fell to the University of South Florida in overtime 2-1. USF claimed victory over the Crimson Tide by scoring a controversial goal in the 93rd minute of the contest.
Although head coach Wes Hart was frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the outcome, he’s proud that his team executed it’s intended game plan.
“I was happy that we executed a game plan,” Hart stated. “Defensively, we were very organized and we did a good job frustrating them a lot in the first half by not allowing balls into their central midfielders and into their forwards feet, so we executed a game plan and created chances; unfortunately, we just didn’t put it into the back of the net.”
Alabama’s offense created scoring chances early and often, scoring on one in the sixth minute of the game. Casey Wertz, one of five freshmen to start in the game against USF, scored her first career goal on a corner kick from junior Emma Welch. To Wertz, her header to take the lead brought on a rush of elation and relief.
“I jumped so high and was so excited when I scored the goal. I watched it go in the back of the net and it was like a breath of fresh air. I was so happy,” Wertz stated.
After Wertz’s score, Alabama continued to be aggressive offensively, keeping pressure on the USF defenders throughout the rest of the first half. Alabama finished with nine shots in the first half. This attacking style of play kept the Bulls on their heels and away from the goal.
Alabama eventually conceded a goal to USF late in the first half on a penalty kick converted by Andrea Hauksdottir. Hauksdottir was awarded the penalty kick after senior goalkeeper Kat Stratton collided with Hauksdottir in the box while attempting to stop the ball.
Although Alabama continued to create scoring chances on offense in the second half, it was unable to convert on any of them and the game was forced into overtime deadlocked at 1-1. After taking two shots on goal early in overtime, Alabama allowed a long over the top pass that resulted in a USF game-winning goal by Grace Adams. According to Hart, the play that resulted in the game-clinching goal should not have even occurred to begin with.
“Apparently the ball didn’t leave the box on the kick out and it’s got to leave the box for it to be a legal restart,” Hart said. “Apparently the linesman was signaling to the center referee to call it dead, but the center referee let it keep playing on.”
While the close loss will sting, Alabama must focus its efforts on its next matchup versus Florida State, a team that Coach Hart believes to be one of the best in the country. Hart was an assistant coach for the Seminoles for two years before becoming the head coach at Alabama. During Hart’s two-year tenure there, Florida State won its first national championship.
“It’s exciting to be playing what I think is a top five team in the country,” Hart stated. “Whether or not I was at Florida State is irregardless. We’re looking at it as Alabama versus Florida State and it’s going to be a good test for us.”
The Crimson Tide will take on the Seminoles at noon on Sunday at the Alabama Soccer Complex.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports