CLEMSON, S.C. - In a neck-and-neck battle on History Riggs Field, Alabama came up short and ended its season Friday night, falling to Clemson, 2-1, in the first round of competition of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide capped its season with 12 wins, which is the most victories recorded in program history since 2002.
"I'm so incredibly proud of this team," coach Wes Hart said. "We played hard tonight. We played well enough to win, but it just didn't happen. What a great year though! We've certainly laid the foundation for future success for Alabama Soccer."
After Clemson (10-5-3, 3-4-3 ACC) opened the match with a corner kick, Alabama (12-8-1, 4-5-1 SEC) saw its first look at goal in the seventh minute when senior Chatham DePropso snatched possession of the ball from a Tiger defender and fired a shot on frame, but Clemson's keeper was there to stop the attempt.
The two squads traded possession of the ball for the next 21 minutes until junior Abbie Boswell beat out a Tiger center back, but Boswell was called offsides to cease the play.
With less than ten minutes on the clock, the Tigers applied intense pressure on Alabama's side of the pitch, earning their second corner of the match and two free kicks, but senior goalkeeper Kat Stratton stopped all of Clemson's offensive attacks to keep them off the board.
Seconds before the half ended, Alabama charged down the field and placed the ball inches away from crossing the goal line, but the Tide was called offsides for the fifth time to end the half scoreless.
The Crimson Tide started the second half hot, putting two shots on frame to put the Tigers on their heels. In the 48th minute, senior Celia Jimenez Delgado delivered a perfect cross pass to redshirt freshman Chloe Maize inside the box, but her shot was saved. Five minutes later, DePropso put up a shot, aiming for inside the left post, but the keeper deflected the ball from going in.
In the 68th minute, Alabama snatched the one-goal advantage after junior Emma Welch sent a longball from the right wing to freshman Casey Wertz, who beat out a defender and bounced the ball over the keeper's head to tap the ball in for the goal.
The Tide's lead did not last long as Clemson evened up the score at one apiece, tallying a goal in the 73rd minute. Five minutes later, the Tigers snagged their first lead of the match notching a goal off a corner kick.
Down by one, the Crimson Tide was eager to keep its season alive, striking up a couple of plays on Clemson's side of the pitch, but time ran out, and the Tigers came out on top.
DePropso led the Tide in shots with two on goal while Wertz netted her lone shot on goal inside the net. Stratton wrapped up the final game of her Crimson Tide career with four saves in 90 minutes.