TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama came from behind in epic fashion to advance to the SEC championship game in their win on Thursday night.
The first half felt like a boxing match, with both teams taking turns on the attacking end. Vanderbilt struck first in just the 14th minute, on a header from Peyton Cutshall. It took the Tide very little time to respond, as Riley Mattingly Parker scored just four minutes later, off a Riley Tanner assist. Impressive saves from both keepers, Sara Wojdelko and McKinley Crone, kept the score even at 1-1 going into halftime.
Something must’ve sparked in the locker room during halftime because Alabama came out and had one of their most dominant halves of the season in the second half. The Tide forced a whopping 13 shots compared to Vanderbilt’s zero as well as forcing six corner kicks. However, the Crimson Tide just couldn’t seem to capitalize on all the opportunities, with Gianna Paul hitting the cross bar and several other shots being just off frame.
Finally, with just around 30 seconds left to play in regulation, Commodore defender Abena Aidoo was called for a foul on Gianna Paul inside the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the Tide. And what better player to take a penalty kick of that much importance than Riley Mattingly Parker. Parker stutter stepped and used the inside of her foot to beautifully place the shot in the left side of the goal, sending the Crimson Tide to the SEC championship game.
Vanderbilt came into the match fresh off an amazing upset win over Arkansas in the quarterfinals, where they won in penalty kicks. However, the Tide did not face the same fate as the Razorbacks, and will continue on their attempt to try and become the first team to win both the regular season championship as well as the SEC tournament championship since 2015.
Alabama looks to bring home the first SEC tournament championship in program history on Sunday afternoon, when they play against the winner of South Carolina and Georgia.