Soccer falls to Tennessee at home

By Marquis Munson | Staff Reporter

After a 4-0 loss in College Station to the Texas A&M Aggies on Friday night, the Alabama soccer team returned home and dropped another game on Sunday to the Tennessee Volunteers 3-1.

“We are playing better teams,” coach Wes Hart said. “We are playing teams that’s at top of the conference. Confidence is so huge in sports and right now you can tell our confidence and psyche is a bit down.”

Tennessee took an early 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game off a free kick from just beyond the box by midfielder Rylie O’Keefe, her first of the season. The free kick was given to the Volunteers after a foul on senior defender Abby Lutzenkirchen, she received a yellow card as a result of the call. The Volunteers continued their offensive attack in the half taking eight shots and four on goal.

Despite controlling possession in Tennessee territory throughout the half, the Crimson Tide couldn’t find its answer on the scoreboard to end the half. They attempted seven shots with one on goal. Forward Auburn Mercer had two shot attempts, while midfielders Celia Jimenez, Hailey Brohaugh and Maddy Anzelc had a shot each. Alexis Mouton had the only shot on goal in the half after a good look that was saved by Julie Eckel.

“We weren’t having any success trying to connect passes, we weren’t good enough moving, and keeping possession of the ball,” Hart said. “Our mentality changed a bit.”

The Crimson Tide began the second half attacking the goal earlier looking to even the score. Five minutes into the second half, Emma Welch was rewarded a free kick to find Mercer on a header that went above the bar. Minutes later, midfielder Brohaugh was rewarded a free kick from 40 yards out that was saved by Eckel.

Tennessee pushed the ball down the field, getting its second goal of the game by forward Anna McClung off an assist by Mackenzie Gouner, McClung's fifth goal of the season. The Crimson Tide got on the board at the 76-minute mark with a goal by defender Molly Moroney off a recovered deflection, her first goal of the season.

Alabama's quest for a comeback was derailed at the 85-minute mark after Tennessee scored its third goal of the game by forward Anna Bialczak off an assist by Emily Morrow. The Crimson Tide has been outscored in its last four matchups 12-2, and lost its fifth-straight game. Despite allowing three goals, goalkeeper Emily Rusk tied her season-high seven saves. The Crimson Tide finished with 15 shots and five on goal.

“Looking at this schedule we knew going into this stretch of games that it was going to be a tough stretch,” Hart said. “The biggest confidence boost for us is that we haven’t won any games, but I think we can draw from it that Georgia hasn’t won that many games either. I think they probably feel a lot like we do. On paper it will be two evenly matched teams.”

This Friday, the Crimson Tide will head to Athens for a match against the Georgia Bulldogs. Opening kick begins at 6 p.m. CT.

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