ORANGE BEACH – The Alabama soccer team came up short to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the Quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, 2-1, at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. This was Alabama’s fourth appearance in the Quarterfinals, with the last time being in 2011.
Vanderbilt was the first squad to get on the board in the 12th minute with a goal by Haley Hopkins. Alabama fired off four shots and earned one corner kick opportunity but could not find the back of the net during the first half.
In the second half, the Commodores increased their lead to two in the 74th minute with another goal by Hopkins. Senior defender Nealy Martin scored her third goal of the season with a header in the 83rd minute off of a corner kick by freshman Serena Pham, putting the Tide on the board late. Despite the tough battle, the Tide could not ultimately complete the comeback.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team, not just for the effort and fight today, but for what we’ve done all season long,” Alabama coach Wes Hart said. “We’ve grown a tremendous amount in the last year and all signs point to a bright future for this program. We will wait and see if the NCAA selection committee thinks we’ve done enough to earn a bid to the tournament. There’s not a doubt in my mind that we are good enough to be there.”
The Crimson Tide outshot the Commodores, 10-8, with three on frame. Nealy Martin led the team with three shots. The Tide earned three more corner kicks than Vanderbilt (6-3).
Freshman goalkeeper AJ Crooks collected two saves throughout the match. This was Alabama’s fourth appearance in the Quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament: 1994, 1995 and 2011.
Alabama will find out on Monday, Nov. 11 if the team has received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The first round of the NCAA Tournament will begin on Friday, Nov. 15.