Alabama soccer falls to Ole Miss in SEC Tournament quarterfinal

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

The 2021 SEC Soccer Tournament will end right where it started for the Alabama women’s soccer team (10-9-1). Alabama lost to the Ole Miss Rebels (12-4-3) 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Ole Miss jumped on the attack early, with forward Sydney Michalak firing a shot on goal in the fourth minute of play. It would not take them long after that to score.

In the 11th minute, midfielder Haleigh Stackpole took a corner kick to the far post. Forward Molly Martin headed it in to give the Rebels the 1-0 advantage. It was Martin’s 10th goal of the season. 

Ole Miss didn’t stop there. Over the next eight minutes, the Rebels fired off four more shots, but Alabama would not concede another goal.

In the 32nd minute, Alabama forward Riley Tanner took a shot that deflected off of the left post. Tanner would get another look in the 39th minute, but two-time SEC Goalkeeper of the Year Ashley Orkus was there.

Orkus was there for Ole Miss all afternoon, recording five crucial saves.

The second half was a grind for both sides, with neither able to put too much pressure on the other.

With the clock ticking down in the final minute, the Crimson Tide looked for the equalizer.

With less than 10 seconds left, midfielder Allie Berk tapped a shot that looked like it might sneak into the net, but it fell out of play, and the match came to an end.

Ole Miss held the advantage in shots 14 to 12, but both sides finished with five on goal.

Alabama had five corner kicks to the Rebels’ four; there were a total of 20 fouls in the contest. Alabama midfielder Kat Rogers and Ole Miss forward Ramsey Davis both received yellow cards.

Alabama head coach Wes Hart was proud of his side, regardless of the result.

“Proud of our team today,” Hart said. “We started a little slower than we wanted. Not sure if it was nerves or what, but once we settled into the game, I thought we played well. Loved our fight all the way till the final whistle. We nearly had the equalizer in the final seconds.”

The Rebels will move on to play the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday night. The Volunteers defeated No. 10 Florida 5-2 on Tuesday morning.

The Crimson Tide’s future is more clouded. Alabama came into the match clearly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, and this result won’t help. Their fate will be determined by the Women’s Soccer Committee on Monday, Nov. 8, at 3:30 p.m. CT.

“I think we put ourselves in a great position to be considered for the NCAA Tournament,” Hart said. “Our RPI [Rating Percentage Index] is in the 40s at the moment. We played one of the toughest schedules in the country. We finished tied for fifth in a very good league and had two big wins over LSU and Auburn.”

Regardless, it has been the most successful season for the Alabama women’s soccer program in nearly 20 years.

Questions? Email the Sports desk at sports@cw.ua.edu.