After being shut out on the road against conference foe South Carolina on Friday, Alabama’s offense bounced back in profound fashion with a 2-0 win against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Tuscaloosa on Sunday.
Alabama stormed out of the gates with an aggressive mentality against UTC, scoring two goals within the first 12 minutes of action. Senior midfielder Maddy Anzelc netted her first goal of the season in the ninth minute of play, knocking in a ball that had ricocheted off of several UTC defenders who were blocking a shot by redshirt freshman Chloe Maize. Coach Wes Hart awarded Anzelc her first start of the year against UTC after Anzelc’s admirable performance coming off of the bench against South Carolina.
“An injury occurred and she was called upon,” said Hart. “She made the most of her opportunity, which earned her a start and she performed well again tonight getting the goal.”
The Alabama offense wasted no time finding the net again, a second score coming in the 11th minute off the foot of senior Celia Jimenez Delgado. Delgado created space for herself before drilling a long shot from just outside of the penalty box on the right side of the pitch.
Although Alabama would not score again for the remainder of the game, it kept Chattanooga’s defense on edge the entire time with a constant barrage of shots, finishing with 24 shots.
Besides a push late in the game to avoid a shutout, UTC could not generate any offensive momentum against a stout Alabama defense. The Alabama defense was smothering, not allowing UTC a single shot in the first half. Chattanooga was able to muster five shots in the second half, but Alabama’s defense remained solid thanks to several skillful saves made by senior goalie Kat Stratton.
With the win over Chattanooga, Alabama closes out its non-conference schedule with an 8-1 record, the Crimson Tide’s best non-conference showing in over a decade.
While Hart was more than satisfied with the win, he was also grateful that Alabama did not sustain any more injuries. Several Alabama players were out against Chattanooga with various ailments, including starters Brynn Martin and Kaley Verpeale. Martin is expected to remain out for multiple weeks as she rehabs a sprained right MCL.
“I’m proud of the way the team played,” said Hart. “We got the result, we got out of the game without an injury, which we haven’t done the past couple games. To come out with a win injury-free is a huge success.”
Alabama looks to secure its first SEC win of the season in a crucial matchup against LSU at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports