TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama was tasked with hosting one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious NCAA women’s soccer program of all time in North Carolina on Sunday night. Let’s just say the Crimson Tide did not disappoint.

The Alabama student body and community showed up and showed out Sunday night, making it a tough environment for the Tar Heels.

“I love that crowd,” Tide coach Wes Hart proclaimed after the game. “We had some big tackles, some aggressive plays to keep them [the Alabama crowd] engaged, and after we scored the goal, I thought we were the better team.”

The matchup was an absolute thriller from start to finish, with miraculous saves from both goalkeepers and intense plays from the Alabama backline.

North Carolina started hot, dominating the first 15 minutes of the game and making life hard for Tide goalkeeper Coralie Lallier, who played a fantastic game. Lallier finished with six spectacular saves, and was the primary reason for the score being even at zero going into the half. Alabama seems to have found their long-term starting goalkeeper in the freshman out of St-Hubert, Quebec.

The second half also started in the favor of the Tar Heels, with Avery Patterson putting UNC on the board first in the 58th minute. North Carolina continued to control the game for the next 20 minutes until, finally, the Tide’s star forward Gianna Paul put one in the back of the net, evening the game at one to one.

The goal, Paul’s fifth of the year, puts her just two goals behind her 2022 season total, despite not even beginning conference play.

The goal meant everything to Paul. “I was literally determined to get that ball in the goal… I think I would have died before I didn’t get that ball in the net.”

Going toe to toe with a powerhouse the likes of UNC is just another example of how serious Coach Hart and his team are about sustaining success within the program.

The Crimson Tide move to a record of 5-0-3 with the draw, and will be back in action Thursday, when they host Georgia to open conference play.


Caden Johnson serves as WVUA-FM’s senior soccer writer. You can follow Johnson on X @CadenLJohnson.