TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Crimson Tide made history on Friday night, reaching their first sweet sixteen in NCAA Tournament history.
However, victory didn’t come easy for the Tide, as they needed late game heroics from Riley Mattingly Parker and an own goal from Portland to escape with a win.
Defenses from both squads dominated the entire first half of the game. Alabama had the majority of possession in the attacking third throughout the first half, but could never seem to capitalize. Four impressive first half saves from Portland goalkeeper Bre Norris as well as a Reyna Reyes miss off the crossbar kept the score even at zero going into the half.
The second half had a much different story.
The late game chaos all began in the 66th minute when Riley Tanner went down inside the box and was awarded a penalty kick. Mattingly Parker took the penalty kick. Norris, the Portland keeper, deflected the kick, sending it right back to Mattingly Parker, who placed the ball perfectly into the bottom corner of the net to give the Tide the lead.
Despite the late goal, Portland didn’t back down. Just two minutes later, Portland earned a penalty kick for themselves and Cally Togiai placed it beautifully in the bottom right corner, evening the score at 1-1.
In the 74th minute, miscommunication in the back line for Portland led to them deflecting a ball into their own net, handing the Tide a 2-1 lead, which would be the final score.
The Tide were matched with a tough second round opponent, but were able to escape with the win.
Alabama gets a one day break then will be back in action Sunday afternoon, as they look to continue their historic season hosting UC Irvine in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.