Special to The Tuscaloosa News
The University of Alabama women’s soccer team beat a top 10-ranked opponent for the first time in program history Sunday afternoon. Alabama defeated fourth-ranked Florida State, 1-0.
Crimson Tide head coach Wes Hart said he hopes this win puts Alabama women’s soccer on the map.
“For a little over two years now, as we were building this program, we knew what we were becoming,” Hart said. “Hopefully today showed that Alabama soccer can play with anyone.”
Coming off a heartbreaking loss in overtime to South Florida on Thursday night, Hart wanted his team to move on and get ready for Florida State.
The players got the message, the defense came out strong just like in their previous game. They held Florida State to just three shots in the first half.
Kayla Mouton, Alabama junior and Florida native, was everywhere on the defensive side of the ball. Late in the first half, Florida State crossed the ball into the box where goalkeeper Kat Stratton had to leave the net for the punch save. With an open net and Florida State getting the ball back, Mouton jumped in front of the goal to block the shot.
Alabama had plenty of shots in the first half, but none of them were able to get past the Florida State goalkeeper. There was no score as both teams headed to the lockers for halftime.
Coach Hart preaches offense to his team. He wants them to shoot a certain amount of shots each game, this game it was 15 shots.
Taylor Morgan, a freshman for the Crimson Tide, made sure she was getting her shots in. She led the team with three shots.
Morgan, who the team calls “Yolo,” finally saw her shot hit the back of the net in the 55th minute. The play started when fellow freshman Casey Wertz took the ball downfield then passed it to Morgan, who scored from the top of the box.
After the game, Morgan talked about how her teammates pumped her up during warmups.
“Before the game everybody was telling me to go get a goal, and I was just telling them ‘OK’,” Morgan said. “When Casey passed the ball to me I got really excited, and told myself, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m actually going to get a goal.’”
Once Alabama grabbed the lead, they didn’t let go. Their defense remained solid in the second half, and senior goalkeeper Kat Stratton came up with four big saves.
The Crimson Tide will take the pitch again on Friday, Sept. 1 at South Alabama.