ORANGE BEACH – The Alabama soccer team defeated the Auburn Tigers in overtime 2-1 in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Sunday. It’s the Crimson Tide’s first win against Auburn since 2011.
The Tide got on the board early in the eighth minute with leading scorer junior Casey Wertz finding the back of the net for the sixth time this season, assisted by junior Kaley Verpaele.
The Tigers tied it in the 30th minute with a goal by Jessie Gerow. The stalemate continued throughout the second half, leading to overtime.
Freshman Macy Clem scored the game-winner in the 97th minute, assisted by freshman Carlee Giammona.
“Aside from about a 15-minute spell at the end of the first half, I thought we completely dominated this game,” Alabama coach Wes Hart said. “I loved the energy we started the game with. We were a bit unfortunate not to get another one early. Credit to Auburn though, they found a way to hang around. We will certainly enjoy this for a few hours, but we’ve got bigger things to accomplish while we are here.”
The Tide outshot the Tigers 22-13 with 12 on frame. Wertz, Giammona, and sophomore Riley Mattingly led the team with four shots each.
“We’ve been in this position with Auburn before and the last time we played them, it just didn’t go in our favor,” Clem said. “There was a point in the beginning of the overtime where I was like ‘I have a feeling we are going to win this game.’ I hate penalty kicks and I know everyone else does so I knew we just had to get it done. We are ready to take on Vanderbilt and we have a lot of adrenaline going into that game.”
Freshman goalkeeper AJ Crooks collected five saves throughout the match. She extends her school record of most total wins, as well as conference wins, for a freshman goalkeeper in program history: six with five SEC victories.
This will be Alabama’s third appearance in the tournament quarterfinals. No. 7 seed Alabama will play the No. 2 seed Vanderbilt on Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT.