TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – An all time classic went down in Tuscaloosa on Friday night, when the Alabama Crimson Tide took down the second seeded Duke Blue Devils 3-2 in overtime.
The win will send the Crimson Tide to their first College Cup in program history.
The first half was an all out battle, with both sides forcing tough shots and attacking off of mistakes. Duke goalkeeper Ruthie Jones kept the Blue Devils alive, with four saves in the first half. Jones finished with a spectacular nine total saves.
The top teams put on a defensive clinic in the first half, then followed it up with an offensive clinic in the second. Once the scoring got started in this game, it seemed like it couldn’t stop.
Tide freshman Gianna Paul scored first in the 67th minute. Just four minutes later, Ashlynn Serepca scored her 10th goal of the season off of a Riley Tanner assist.
The sold out crowd was as loud as ever, as it seemed like the Crimson Tide would be heading into the College Cup with ease.
They could not have been more wrong.
Star Duke forward, Michelle Cooper, came into the game with 17 goals on the season and was determined to not let her team go down without a fight. Cooper scored in the 75th minute to cut the Alabama lead to just one. Chaos erupted when Cooper scored again just three minutes later to even the score at two. Cooper’s second goal was her 19th of the year, the most in a single season in Duke’s program history.
Cooper and the Blue Devils stayed on the attacking end for the remainder of the second half, but a clutch save from Tide keeper McKinley Crone helped the Tide hold on and force overtime.
Seven minutes into the first overtime period, Reyna Reyes scored, giving Alabama the lead with what would go on to be the game-winning goal.
Crone and the Alabama defense held down their side of the field for the rest of the game, helping the Crimson Tide escape with a win and advance to the semi finals of the NCAA Tournament.
“Survive and advance” is the motto in the tournament, and the Crimson Tide continue to do just that.