Alabama looking to restore momentum in Iron Bowl of soccer

Alabama looking to restore momentum in Iron Bowl of soccer

Alabama soccer will play Auburn in Tuscaloosa this weekend. CW File

Since the late 1800s, the Alabama vs. Auburn football competition has been one of the greatest rivalries in sports history.

Whether it’s the chants of “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” rooming through the two schools, they battle each year to determine who the most dominate team in the state of Alabama is. The competitiveness between the two teams extends off the football field, and the battle of crimson and orange has spread to various other sports.

“Growing up the Alabama/Auburn rivalry has always been a huge deal in my family," forward Tori Gann, from Pinson Valley, Alabama, said. “My step-dad and step-brother are Auburn fans, so it’s always gets tense in my house around the time of Iron Bowl.”

This Thursday, Coach Wes Hart and the Alabama Crimson Tide soccer team will continue the legacy of this rivalry against the Auburn Tigers for their 22nd meeting, dating back to 1994.

“It is a huge game for us, not only because it is our big rivalry game, but also because it can change our momentum going forward,” midfielder Auburn Mercer said.

A junior from Charlotte,North Carolina, Mercer always get asked the, “How do you go to Alabama, when your name is Auburn,” question.

“When introducing myself, I am usually prepared for the follow-up question,” Mercer said. “If I had a dollar for every time I was asked that question, I’d be set for life. I am named after the color, not the school. But I think that this is one of the greatest rivalries in sports, and makes for an ecstatic atmosphere every time the two teams set foot on the field.”

This rivalry began in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 12, 1994, with a final score of 0-0. A few weeks later on Nov. 4, both teams would go head-to-head in the second annual SEC Tournament at LadyBack Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Tigers pulled a 2-1 victory in overtime against the Crimson Tide.

After the Tigers gained another win the following season, Alabama took control of the rivalry, winning the next five match ups in a span of four years. In 2000, Auburn regained the lead over the Crimson Tide and has had control since.

With any rivalry comes big losses and major comebacks. On Oct. 28, 2005 after the Tigers dominated most of the series, the Crimson Tide would pull out a shocking 6-3 victory in Tuscaloosa. That exact date one year later, the Tigers responded by defeating them 6-1. Last season at the Auburn Soccer Complex, they went to overtime where the Auburn scored the game winning goal at the 91 minute mark.

“We want to be able to say we’re the best in the state,” midfielder Hailey Brohaugh said. “So winning this game would be huge for us, especially moving forward with the season.”

Auburn is 5-5-1 at the Alabama Soccer Complex. This season, Alabama has only lost one game at home with a record of 4-1-1 in Tuscaloosa.

“Probably the most important thing for us is getting back home,” Hart said. “We know we have the step at home so it’s nice to know we are playing on our home field.”

The Tigers leads the all-time series 13-7-2 and come into Tuscaloosa as the 10th best team in the nation. Alabama is coming into this game with back-to-back losses on the road against tough SEC opponents Ole Miss and South Carolina. With the season coming down to the wire, Alabama looks to use a victory in this rivalry for momentum going forward in the season.

“I have no problem being the underdog, but at the same time especially in a rivalry game anything can happen,” Hart said. “The time and clock is winding down for this season, and each one of these games are important. We want to carry this game over to the rest of this season.”

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