Soccer tops Jacksonville State 2-0

Marquis Munson

After a tough loss to Kentucky on Friday night, Coach Wes Hart and the Alabama Crimson Tide soccer team bounced back at the Alabama Soccer Complex and defeated Jacksonville State 2-0.

The Crimson Tide started the game looking to find its offensive early against the Gamecocks. After attempting only five shots with one on goal in the loss to Wildcats, the team attempted seven shots with three on goal in the first 12 minutes of play.

“Similar to what we talked about the last couple weeks is let’s get after them,” Hart said. “Let’s not wait for something to happen, let’s go create chances and take the game from the opening whistle.”

The momentum on the shots paid off at the 13-minute mark with a goal by midfielder Celia Jimenez off an assist by forward Emma Welch. That was the first goal scored in the first half for the Crimson Tide this season. Jimenez would score another goal at the 41-minute mark as she tapped in a deflected shot in front of the net. She has scored four goals this season finishing the half with eight shots.

“Coach Wes was talking about our mentality going into this game,” Jimenez said. “He talked about how much we need to focus on getting goals, getting to the box, and finishing. That was on my mind since the beginning of the game.”

Alabama’s defense was able to keep the Gamecocks from finding good looks on offense with only two shots, none on goal. Jacksonville state goalkeeper Caroline Robinson had five saves with two goals allowed.

The Crimson Tide finished the half with 25 shots with seven on goal, and had 10 different players with shot attempts in the half. Lacey Clarida, Christina Martensson and Hailey Brohaugh combined for 10 shots, two on goal.

“I keep looking back to the beginning of the season when we were struggling to put a couple shots on the board and at least our mindset and our mentality is right now,” Hart said.

With a strong lead going into the second half, Hart tried implementing other players in the rotation, taking out goalkeeper Emily Rusk for sophomore Kat Stratton. With its defense still roaming and offense keeping possession throughout the half, the team would hang on to its lead and win their fourth game of the season. The Crimson Tide finished the game with 38 shots and 12 on goal.

“That was a big thing for me tonight, getting to see players that haven’t had an opportunity to play yet. For those players on the field, they know that this is their opportunity to show me what they can do,” Hart said.

The Crimson Tide is now 4-1-1 at home. It will play two games on the road this weekend, beginning Friday night in Oxford against Ole Miss. Opening kick will begin 7 p.m.