TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama soccer team (8-2-1, 3-0-1 SEC) will welcome No. 6 Florida (10-1-1, 4-0-0 SEC) for a Friday night Southeastern Conference showdown. The match will feature the top two teams in each division as the two programs will take to the field on Oct.8, at 7 p.m. Fox Sports South will air the game with Pete Pranica and Katie Witham calling the action at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT
Alabama capped off its first road weekend of SEC play by earning four points. After playing LSU to a scoreless draw on Friday night the Crimson Tide downed the Arkansas Razorbacks, 2-1 on Sunday in Fayetteville. Freshman Lindsey Sillers scored her first career goal off a Victoria Frederick assist and then Frederick was on the scoring end just five minutes later to secure the Tide victory. Alabama goalkeeper Justine Bernier gave up her first goal in 561 minutes when she was beaten with 10 minutes left in the contest.
WHO TO WATCH
Alabama senior forward Victoria Frederick has gotten off to a fast start in conference play. The fleet-footed forward has tallied six points on a goal and a conference best four assists in league games. She started off the league slate with three assists in the first weekend, having her hand in three of the four goals that weekend. She continued her strong play this past weekend to lead Alabama to a 2-1 win over Arkansas by assisting the first goal and then burying the game-winner just before the half. On the year, the Huntsville, Ala., native has recorded nine points on two goals and a team-best five assists.
The Gators enter Tuscaloosa ranked in the top 10 in all major polls as they check in at No. 6 overall. Florida is off to a quick start in conference play, earning wins in its first four matches. UF has not lost a match since it fell, 2-0 against No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 19. As a team, Florida has out-scored its opponents 31-6, including a 14-1 mark in conference play. Individually the Gators are led by Hermann Trophy Watch List goalkeeper Katie Fraine. The All-SEC net-minder checks in with six shutouts and a 0.52 goals against average while making 43 saves in 1041 minutes. Offensively Florida is paced by McKenzie Barney and her 21 points on nine goals and three assists. Tahnai Annis closely follows with 19 points on seven goals and five assists. Erika Tymrak leads the team with six assists and has posted 12 points by adding three goals. The Gators finished 16-6-2 in 2009, earning an SEC championship but fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Oregon State, 2-1. Becky Burleigh enters her 16th season at Florida and posts a 274-71-24 record for the Gators.
Alabama has had a tough time over the years against Florida as the Gators hold a 13-0-1 all-time advantage. The only time Alabama has earned a point against Florida came in a 2-2 draw in Gainesville in 2005. The Crimson Tide is 0-7 all-time in games play in Tuscaloosa against the Gators. Head coach Todd Bramble is 1-5 against Florida all-time, earning his only win against the Gators in 2002 by the score of 5-2 while at the helm of the Clemson program.
PROGRAM TURN AROUND
In year three under head coach Todd Bramble, the Alabama soccer team is accomplishing some feats it has not reached in some time. After four matches into the conference season the Tide is unbeaten for the first time since 1995. Alabama earned its first win over Mississippi and its first point against LSU at Baton Rouge since 2004. The Tide already eclipsed its win total from last season before the calendar hit October and has eclipsed its goal total from a year ago as well.
WESTERN DIVISION WATCH
The Alabama soccer team has jumped out to a quick start in conference play and has done so against western division opponents. The Crimson Tide has played four of the five division opponents already and has yet to lose, holding a four point lead in the division over Auburn. The Tide will face Auburn in the final match of the regular season on Oct. 29. With the 10 points, Alabama currently sits in a tie for second place in the overall SEC standing with South Carolina. Florida is atop the table with 12 points.
WHERE THEY STACK UP
Alabama junior goalkeeper Justine Bernier doesn't just lead the conference with a 0.28 goals against average but also ranks fourth in the country. She also paces the conference in save percentage and checks in at second in college soccer with a .956 clip. Brooke Rogers is tied for fifth in the league with six goals and ranks tied for ninth in points with 12. Victoria Frederick ranks tied for seventh in assists with five and leads the league during conference action with four helpers.
Alabama junior goalkeeper Justine Bernier broke the Alabama career shutout record by tallying her 13th shutout with a clean slate at LSU. The shutout marked her fifth of the season. In the win over Arkansas on Sunday, Bernier also etched her name atop the career saves record, by making 304 stops over the course of her career, besting the 301 set by Tide great Amy Pseja. With her five shutouts in 2010 Bernier is closing in on the single season record as well. She currently ranks tied for third in the single season annals, just two behind the mark set by Carrie Warner in 1997.
Just over the halfway mark of the 2010 campaign, several members of the Crimson Tide are having career seasons. Senior Brooke Rogers has tallied six goals, leading the team in that category and besting her previous season high of three. Fellow senior Rosaly Petriello is also putting together a career year, as the Canadian has tallied four goals, eclipsing her previous season best of three, set in 2007. Senior Victoria Frederick is also been putting together a career season but in the assist category, as she enters the weekend with a career-best five helpers.
POWER OF PINK
The Alabama soccer team will once again partake in the Power of Pink initiative in 2010. Alabama will host South Carolina in the Tuscaloosa Toyota Power of Pink match on Sunday, Oct. 10. Alabama Athletics and Tuscaloosa Toyota have partnered in the efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer and support for the DCH Breast Cancer Fund. Efforts support the DCH Breast Cancer Fund, which is designed to help women in the West Alabama area who need financial assistance to pay for early detection of breast cancer.
All fans will receive FREE Outback Steakhouse coupons, and don't miss out on a chance to win an Ipad through the athletic attendance rewards program.
NEXT TIME OUT