The Alabama soccer team defeated the Tennessee 3-2 at home on Saturday afternoon to improve to 2-0 in its spring season.
Coach Wes Hart lined up the Crimson Tide in a 4-4-2 formation against the Vols to have better control in the midfield. Although there was some sloppy play as the game progressed, Alabama improved its possession and was able to manage the game better.
The Vols opened up the scoring within the first five minutes, capitalizing on Alabama’s mistakes and sloppy plays. Freshman Allie Berk answered with a goal of her own five minutes later, firing a screamer into the top corner to tie the game at one apiece.
Berk has scored a goal in both games in the spring season.
“It feels good that the team is doing really well and that we’ve had a good start to the spring season,” Berk said. “I hope we can keep this energy up and keep working hard.”
Freshman goalkeeper A.J. Crooks, who started 11 of 20 games in the fall, left the game with an injury and was brought to the hospital in an ambulance.
“Our trainer was headed to the hospital to go look at her,” Hart said. “[It’s] something with her knee, but I’m not sure if that meant ACL, kneecap. The trainer just told me something with the knee. Not sure.”
The Crimson Tide kept rolling in the first half when sophomore Gabby Duca scored a tap in just off the goal line to secure a 2-1 lead over the Vols late in the half.
The second half was evenly played by both sides, but the Vols took advantage of missed opportunities by Alabama and tied the game in the 49th minute.
Junior Casey Wertz scored the go-ahead goal in the 62nd minute to give Alabama a 3-2 lead that it would not relinquish. The victory also breaks a trend of both Alabama and Tennessee losing at home against the other.
“Whenever they [Tennessee] come here, they always beat us, and whenever we go there we always beat them,” Wertz said. “And today we broke the curse which is really cool.”
Hart said that despite being outplayed in the first half, he was pleased with the team’s bounce-back after halftime.
“We are who we are, no matter who we’re playing,” Hart said. “I thought we did well. The first half we started a little bit sluggish. They came at us in the first half, and I thought they were the better side early on, and they were rewarded for that with a goal early. I liked our response. We came right back down and scored a couple goals. As the game went on I thought we got better, and by the second half we were much better.”
The Crimson Tide now has a three-week break before hosting Ole Miss on March 28.