By Joe Klingbeil
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
University of Alabama coach Wes Hart and the Crimson Tide soccer team defeated in-state foe Jacksonville State 5-1 on Friday night to open the 2017 season.
After a 9-8-2 finish last season and an appearance in the SEC Tournament, Hart made it a point in the offseason to make his squad more aggressive, adding an extra forward to the formation in hopes of more scoring opportunities and forcing more turnovers.
The Crimson Tide didn’t waste any time putting Hart’s philosophy into action.
Two minutes into the game on Friday, senior midfielder Chatham DeProspo scored when she netted in a cross from Celia Jimenez Delgado off a quick pass from Emma Welch.
“We mentioned before the game we want a shot in the first five minutes,” Hart said. “Out first shot came in 30 seconds in and we scored two minutes in.”
The Alabama attack ensued as it controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, which carried over into the second half.
Late in the first half the momentum shifted, however, after a defensive header from DeProspo soared over the reach of Crimson Tide goalkeeper Kat Stratton into the net for an own goal with 11:50 to go in the first half.
The Crimson Tide wouldn’t let the mishap affect its game plan in the second half as Kayla Mouton broke the tie with a goal in the 58th minute.
With 24 minutes to go, junior midfielder Welch got in on the action with a goal.
DeProspo eventually redeemed herself with another goal in the 86th minute, and freshman Nicole Lyubenko iced the game with the first goal of her career seconds later.
Freshmen Brynn Martin, Casey Wertz, Chloe Maize, Gigi Schorr , Kaley Verpaele, and Taylor Morgan also saw game action in their collegiate debut.
Alabama will host Samford at 7 p.m. on Sunday.