Alabama soccer's physical battle with No. 15 Arkansas ends in overtime loss

Alabama soccer's physical battle with No. 15 Arkansas ends in overtime loss

CW / Jake Stevens

Emotions ran high in Alabama’s 2-1 overtime loss to the No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday night. A total of 25 fouls were committed in the game, and three yellow cards were issued to coaches from both teams. Alabama head coach Wes Hart said that a game like that just shows how much the players and coaches care.

“If you are not into the game like that then you probably don’t care enough about your team or about the result,” he said. “Certainly emotions were running high from the benches all the way to the players on the field. I wouldn’t want it either way.”

Both teams battled early on, with the Razorbacks getting most of the offensive chances. The Razorbacks finally broke through, scoring in the 28th minute when Stefani Doyle found the back of the net off of an assist from Claire Kelley. From there, the game only got more physical, as yellow cards started to fly for both teams.

In the half, Alabama fouled Arkansas seven times, and the Razorbacks returned the favor twice. Arkansas also led in the shot count, with eight shots to Alabama’s five.

The physical style of play is something that Hart expected out of the Razorbacks.

“That is how they play, they’re a physical team, they’re a disruptive team,” he said. “They’re not a dirty team or a cheap team, they are physical and aggressive and strong and athletic. For us, we needed to match that.”

Alabama finally broke through in the 76th minute when freshman Keely Cartrett headed home a goal off of a rebound. That goal was Cartrett’s first in a Crimson Tide uniform, and it could not have been bigger for her team.

“It felt really good,” Cartrett said. “My team did a really good job of getting it there, I just happened to be in front of the box to tap it in. It was really a team effort goal.”

From there, both teams played with high emotions and tensions ran high. In the 16 minutes of regulation, four yellow cards were issued, with two going to Arkansas and two going to Alabama. Even with all of the emotion, neither team was able to able to break the tie in the final minutes, and the game into overtime.

In the first period of overtime, Arkansas came very close to ending the game when Stefani Doyle put a low shot that was barely deflected by junior goalkeeper Kat Stratton. On the rebound, Doyle’s second attempt hit the bottom of the cross bar and barely bounced away from the goal. Moments later, Arkansas’ Lindsey Mayo scored to give the Razorbacks the 2-1 overtime victory.

Even with a loss, Cartrett said a game like this still gives the Crimson Tide confidence.

“We had great effort and we just competed with one of the hottest teams in the country right now,” she said. ‘We battled with them.”

Overall, Arkansas led the shot count 20-11 and shots on goal were also in favor of the Razorbacks 8-4. The Crimson Tide now fall to 6-3-1 (1-1-1 in conference play) on the season, with Arkansas improving to 10-1 (2-0).

Next, Alabama will take on another ranked opponent in No. 14 Texas A&M. That game will kick off on Sunday at the Alabama Soccer Complex at 6 p.m. CT.

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