Alabama wins its first SEC game of the yearBy Ben Stansell | 10/15/2017 9:18pm
Alabama defeated Mississippi State in double overtime for its first SEC win.
By the time the ball hit the back of the net, Alabama’s bench was cleared. All of the players had already taken flight, sprinting towards the opposing team’s goal with shouts of jubilation. At the goal they formed a chaotic and joyous muddle around Abbie Boswell, who had just secured Alabama a 3-2 victory over Mississippi State with a goal in the 102nd minute of double-overtime.
The win certainly deserved an exuberant celebration. Not only did the victory give the Crimson Tide its first SEC win of the season, garnering the team three crucial points that they desperately needed to help them stay alive in the race for SEC tournament qualification, it also allowed the team to cap senior night off in festivity rather than dismay.
Senior forward Alexis Mouton did not even anticipate playing on senior night, much less netting the game’s first goal. Yet that is precisely what she did in the 28th minute of action, knocking in a shot that rebounded off of a Mississippi State defender to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead that it carried into halftime. The goal marked Mouton’s first of the season.
“I was just excited to play on my senior night because at the beginning of the season I was out for mono and so I didn’t even think I was going to play,” Mouton said. “Getting into the game was just exciting.”
Alabama found pay-dirt again early in the second half of action, scoring in the 49th minute of the game to improve it’s lead to 2-0. The goal resulted from a flawlessly executed sequence initiated by junior Cat Jorgensen. Jorgensen threaded a pass down the right sideline to senior Celia Jimenez Delgado, who sent a soaring cross towards the goal that was headed in by freshman Casey Wertz, her third goal of the season.
With the momentum squarely on its side, it appeared the Crimson Tide was heading towards an easy victory. However, Mississippi State was not willing to give up the fight. The Bulldogs managed to level the score at 2-2 with two lightning quick goals in the 76th and 78th minute of the contest.
Despite both Alabama and Mississippi State creating quality goal-scoring opportunities, neither was able to find the back of the net for the remainder of regulation, and the game went into sudden-death overtime deadlocked at 2-2.
Another 10 minutes of game time proved insufficient in deciding the outcome of the contest and the teams headed into a second overtime still tied at two.
Understanding that a quick-score was needed to clinch victory, Alabama went to work immediately in the second overtime period. The Crimson Tide’s impassioned attack paid off with Boswell’s goal in the 102nd minute. The clutch score was Boswell’s sixth of the season, and her third in two games.
Even though Mississippi State out-shot Alabama 22-17, the Crimson Tide was more efficient with its shots. The increased efficiency was a direct consequence of Alabama’s preparation in practices leading up to the matchup, according to Mouton.
“In practice these past few days all we’ve been doing is stuff in and around the box, defending and shooting, doing whatever you can to score goals and I think that really helped,” Mouton said.
With Sunday night’s victory, Alabama improves it’s overall record to 9-6-1 and it’s SEC record to 1-5-1. The Crimson Tide will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. to face the Razorbacks (8-7-1, 3-3-1 SEC) on Thursday at 7 p.m.