Six soccer players return home when Alabama travels to Athens

Six soccer players return home when Alabama travels to Athens

The Crimson Tide are in a must-win situation to stay in the SEC Tournament hunt with a season record of 4-9-2. CW | Layton Dudley

Two weeks ago, the Alabama football team traveled to Athens, Georgia, to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs 38-10 to regain momentum after a tough loss to Ole Miss.

After losing their last five matches, coach Wes Hart and the Crimson Tide soccer team need to regain the same momentum as they head to Athens this Friday to face the Bulldogs in order to keep their SEC Tournament hopes alive.

“We need to get a result from this game to get our teams confidence up for the last couple games of the season,” senior defender Abby Lutzenkirchen said.

The state of Georgia is a familiar territory for some of the players on the Crimson Tide roster. Six players are from six different cities in the Peach State, the largest state represented on the roster.

“The majority of my high school went to big universities in Georgia, and I really wanted to branch out and look at places out of state,” defender Molly Moroney said. “Once I visited Alabama, I loved the campus and the atmosphere along with the girls. I had the luxury of being able to go to a big university out of state because of soccer, and I took advantage of it.”

Before playing for the Crimson Tide, these six players had to play their way through very competitive youth soccer programs in the state of Georgia.

“A lot of good players come out of Georgia, and they have great developmental coaches in the state,” Moroney said. “Playing Olympic development program for Georgia really showed how strong our state is for women’s soccer as well. I loved playing against some of the best players in the region and sometimes even in the country. The competition really helped me grow as a player.”

Before becoming teammates, forward Emma Welch and defender Elena Zang competed against each other in high school.

“I love Emma,” Zang said. “We have known each other since my junior year of high school when we played against each other during club season. Everyone knows each other, and now we are playing against each other in the collegiate level. Most Georgia soccer players have branched out to SEC schools to play.”

The six players will return to their home state, where the Crimson Tide are in a must-win situation to stay in the SEC Tournament hunt with a season record of 4-9-2. It trails in the all-time series record with the Bulldogs 6-11-1 but has won the last three matches including a 3-2 double-overtime victory in Athens back in 2013.

“I think we just need to move forward and work our hardest to get a result,” Moroney said. “We can’t worry about the past games; we just need to put in all our effort and work together as a team, and we will find results.”

As for returning to Georgia, these players are excited to play in front of their family, friends and former competitors. Even though they bleed crimson, they still have a Georgia heart.

“I’m definitely still a Georgia girl at heart, but I love Alabama,” Lutzenkirchen said. “I have a ton of close friends that play for and go to Georgia, and a lot of my family will be there because it is the closest game. It’s my favorite game of the year because I have such strong ties, since it’s my home state.”

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