TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama soccer team scored four goals in the opening 45 minutes of play and coasted to a 5-1 victory over Kennesaw State on Friday night at the Alabama Soccer Complex. It was the season-opening match for both teams.
"I'm certainly happy with how the first half went," Alabama head coach Todd Bramble said. "I'm disappointed we gave up a goal early in the second half. That gave them some momentum. It made the game more hectic and chaotic. I would've liked to see us handle the second half a little bit better. We were able to settle down a bit. It was good that everyone came in tonight and it was a good way start to the season."
he Tide was led by redshirt freshman Hailey Brohaugh, who came off the bench to record a pair of goals. Senior Theresa Diederich also added three assists, all coming in the first half, which tied for the second-most assists in a game in program history.
Freshman Lacey Clarida and senior Pia Rijsdijk each tallied a goal and an assist to help lead the Tide to its largest season-opening victory since a 7-1 win over Kennesaw State in 2011.
Alabama wasted no time getting on the board when Rijsdijk scored the first goal of the season at the 13:03 mark off Diederich's first assist of the night. Just 19 seconds later, at the 13:22 mark, senior Laura Lee Smith gave the Tide a 2-0 lead when she buried a shot off a double assist from Diederich and Clarida.
The Tide continued to press forward and were rewarded in the 37th minute when Clarida scored her first career goal off a double assist from Rijsdijk and junior midfielder Abby Lutzenkirchen.
Brohaugh then put the game out of reach just over five minutes later, at the 42:23 mark, when she one-timed a shot off a cross from Diederich, giving the Tide an insurmountable four-goal cushion.
Kennesaw State was finally able to break through just over two minutes into the second half with a goal from Maggie Gaughan. However, the Tide's defense stood strong from that point on, holding the Owls to only three shots in the final 45 minutes.
Rijsdijk had a chance to score a second goal after she was brought down in the box in the 86th minute, resulting in an Alabama penalty kick. Kennesaw State goalkeeper Mady Carter, who made seven saves on the night, stuffed the shot, however, Brohaugh was there to deposit the ball into the net, resulting in the final score.
"It was good to see lots of players score for us," Bramble said. "Lacey got on the scoresheet for us in the second consecutive game (also scored in the exhibition game). Hailey had two goals for us in her debut as a redshirt freshman. I'm really happy for those players. Getting that kind of contributions from younger players on a consistent basis will take some of the pressure off of players like Pia, Laura Lee and others that are offensive threats. It will only help our team in the long run."
The Tide finished the contest with a 19-8 advantage in total shots, including a 12-2 edge in shots on goal.
The Crimson Tide will return to action on Sunday when it hosts the Memphis Tigers at 7 p.m. CT. Admission is free to all fans.
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