Late goal lifts soccer to ranked win in regular season finale

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

It was an eventful week for the Alabama women’s soccer team.

On Wednesday, Alabama senior Kat Rogers was named to the SEC Soccer Community Service Team for the second consecutive year. Rogers is on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a supporter of “Beat Auburn, Beat Hunger.”

Then, the team beat Auburn on Thursday night. The Crimson Tide (10-8-1) came into the game after a crushing 4-0 defeat in Columbia against South Carolina. 

The loss didn’t affect Alabama’s performance in its 1-0 win over the arch-rival No. 19 Auburn Tigers (11-5-1).

The Crimson Tide showed up ready to attack on the offensive end. Forward Ashlynn Serepca and midfielder Felicia Knox put shots on goal in the first 12 minutes of the match.

The rest of the half was full of fouls and substitutions. Both teams went into the break scoreless.

In the second half, Auburn shot four times in the first 15 minutes, but they couldn’t convert the shots into goals.

Alabama had five corner kicks to Auburn’s two. Both teams finished with nine fouls on the pitch. Alabama midfielder Kate Henderson and defender Bella Scaturro were both shown yellow cards.

Serepca led the team with two shots on goal in 75 minutes played.

Alabama subbed in forward Aislin Streicek and midfielder Allie Berk, which made the difference for the Crimson Tide.

In the 82nd minute, Streicek made several skill moves in the box before firing a pass across the middle to Berk, who tapped the ball in to secure the 1-0 victory.

Auburn outshot Alabama 16 to 14, but the Crimson Tide held the advantage in shots on goal six to four.

Alabama goalkeeper McKinley Crone made four saves on the night.

“Massive win for us,” head coach Wes Hart said. “We beat our rivals and won the Iron Bowl trophy! We finished tied for fifth in the league, which is the highest finish in years. We clinched a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament. And we won a top-20 RPI game, which helps out our NCAA resume.”

The Crimson Tide finished its season with a 10-2 record on its home field. Hart was appreciative of the support from Alabama fans this season.

“Love playing at home,” Hart said. “We were so good here this year. Love the support of our fans all year long. So grateful!”

Hart said Berk doesn’t always get the same attention as other players, but she’s just as important to the team.

“Allie has been great for us,” Hart said. “She’s so good at holding up the ball and allowing us to play our brand of soccer. She doesn’t get on the score sheet often, but this one was huge.

The win secured a first-round bye for the Crimson Tide in the SEC Tournament.

Hart said the extra two days off will be “huge” for his team’s ability to make a run in the tournament. 

With the conclusion of the regular season, the Crimson Tide will now compete in the 2021 SEC Soccer Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Alabama will face the Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. The Rebels previously defeated the Crimson Tide, 3-1, in Oxford on Sept. 5.