Alabama defeats Tennessee Tech, earns fifth straight winBy Ben Stansell | 09/11/2017 11:52am
Despite an inability to convert any of their shots into goals, Alabama soccer edged Tennessee Tech 1-0 on Sunday night thanks to an own goal scored by the visiting Golden Eagles.
In the fifth minute of the contest, senior midfielder Celia Jimenez Delgado struck a low cross that was deflected into Tennessee Tech’s own goal by two of their defensive players. Besides this early score, the game was a defensive battle filled with physical plays from both teams
.For the rest of the first half, Alabama and Tennessee Tech were stuck in a deadlock, with Alabama only recording five shots on goal compared to the Golden Eagles’ four. As the half wore on, the level of physicality displayed by both teams picked up.
Alabama maintained its physical style of play in the second half of action and placed an even larger emphasis on defense. Although Alabama possessed a 1-0 lead late into the game, the players never backed off, continuously trying to find ways to add on another score.
“Coach (Wes) Hart preaches to us every day that we never want to take our foot off the gas, we never want to settle for a 1-0 lead, we want to always try to score more goals and that’s what we did and that’s what we have to do every game,” said redshirt freshman Chloe Maize. Maize lead Alabama in shots, recording four.
Even though they sustained offensive attacks until the final buzzer, Alabama was unable to capitalize and the game ended 1-0.
The game was certainly an unusual one for the Crimson Tide, a team that has been able to essentially have their way with opposing defenses. It was only the second time this season that Alabama has been contained to one goal. According to Hart, Alabama’s decrease in offensive production was due to Tennessee Tech’s stingy defense, as well as a lack of vivacity from his own players.
As soon as the game kicked off, it was apparent that Alabama was missing the high level of energy that they have ridden to a 6-1 start to the 2017 campaign. While Hart was not entirely sure why his team came out flat, he believes the absence of one of their top contributors could have played a part.
Freshman midfielder Taylor Morgan was suspended from the game due to a violation of team rules. Morgan has been an integral part of Alabama’s success due to both her statistical contributions, she has accounted for three goals this year, and the passion that she brings to the pitch every game.
“She broke a team rule and no matter how good she is and how important she is, I mentioned the fact that we lacked energy today, she’s someone that brings energy and she’s someone that would’ve been very important for us tonight,” Hart said. “Hopefully she’s learned from it and we can move on.”
Alabama was without another key player for the last 20 minutes of the contest after freshman defender Brynn Martin went down with an unspecified right knee injury. Martin was dribbling in the opponents’ box when she was tackled by an opposing player. Martin was gingerly helped off the field once she was checked on by trainers. Coach Hart was uncertain about the severity of the injury immediately after the game.
The Crimson Tide will carry a five game win streak into their first SEC matchup on the road against South Carolina on Friday.