Soccer earns second consecutive SEC win in overtime

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Soccer earns second consecutive SEC win in overtime

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

CW / Joe Will Field

The Alabama soccer team earned its second consecutive SEC victory Friday night, defeating Mississippi State 3-2 in overtime.

The Crimson Tide fought long and hard against the Bulldogs in what was its most physical game of the season thus far.

“What a crazy game,” coach Wes Hart said. “Thankfully we had the overtime there. We were able to catch our breath and talk about finding the width, which is really what we’re good at.”

Alabama got on the board early in the game, with freshman midfielder Reyna Reyes scoring in the seventh minute off of a through shot by sophomore defender Abby Biven. In the 18th minute, junior defender Brynn Martin scored her third goal of the season, assisted by junior forward Casey Wertz and freshman midfielder Serena Pham.

The Bulldogs struck back in the final minute of the first half, with sophomore defender Miranda Carrasco scoring with junior forward Olivia Hernandez and senior defender Hailey Zerbal picking up the assist. The goal sent the teams into the locker rooms with Alabama leading by one.

In the second half, Mississippi State tied the game off of an own goal by Alabama in the 73rd minute. The Crimson Tide was unable to reply and the game was sent to sudden-death overtime.

In the 95th minute, Alabama pulled off the overtime victory with a golden goal by redshirt sophomore Gabby Duca, with Wertz picking up the assist. With the goal, the Crimson Tide clinched the 3-2 win.

“That was so exciting,” Duca said. “I haven’t scored that much this season so to finally get a goal and for it to be a game-winner is actually exciting.”

The Bulldogs led the Crimson Tide in shots for the game, outshooting them 18-15. Sophomore forward Riley Mattingly led Alabama with three shots, with two of them on frame.

Another notable statistic is that with its seven corner kicks in the game, the Crimson Tide leads the SEC with 103 in 12 games played so far this season.

Freshman goalkeeper A.J. Crooks also had another solid outing, earning her third career win. Crooks collected five saves in the contest, with several of them being goal-stopping dives.

“We knew we needed to talk away with three points and we didn’t care what it took,” Crooks said. “We all just left our hearts out on the field and knew we could not leave with a loss.”

With the win, Alabama moves to 7-4-1 on the season, and is 2-2-0 in the SEC. Mississippi State falls to 6-5-1 overall with the loss, and is 1-2-1 in the conference. The team faces the Aggies of Texas A&M next Thursday in College Station. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. CT kick.

“It’s a big relief going to Texas A&M having like two wins [under] our belt,” Duca said. “Going in with six points, we’re pretty confident.”