Alabama Soccer Defeats Mississippi State

Theresa Diederich and Lacey Clarida each scored a goal to lead the Alabama soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Mississippi State in exhibition action Saturday night at the Alabama Soccer Complex. The Crimson Tide controlled the game throughout, outshooting the Bulldogs, 16-9, including a 9-4 advantage on shots on goal.

“It was a great way to wrap up all the hard work the players have put in the last week of preseason,” Alabama Coach Todd Bramble said. “It was nice that it came together. This is just the starting point. We still have a lot of work to do. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves, but I like what I saw from some of our leaders and upperclassmen tonight.

“We had great fan support tonight and that was nice, considering the students aren't back yet,” Bramble said. “I think a great turn out from the community. I'm really thankful for the support we got today.

It added energy to what would otherwise be a meaningless game. It was just an exhibition game. It doesn't count against our schedule. I just hope the support continues to grow.”

Alabama wasted no time getting on the board first as Diederich netted a goal at the 4:39 mark. The tally was set up when Merel van Dongen struck a shot from 20 yards that was saved by a diving Mississippi State keeper. Diederich gathered the loose ball rebound and buried a shot into the open net for the one-goal advantage.

Alabama continued to pressure throughout the half, outshooting the Bulldogs, 10-3 over the opening 45 minutes, but could not extend the lead.

The Tide began the second half the same way it started the game, controlling the flow of play. The persistence paid off in the 56th minute when Clarida deposited a shot in the upper 90 off an assist from senior newcomer Maruschka Waldus, resulting in the two-goal advantage.

From that point, the Tide’s defense took over, limiting the Bulldogs to only a few good chances. Alabama goalkeepers Emily Rusk (two saves) and Kat Stratton (1 save) combined for three stops on the night.

The Tide will open the 2014 regular season with a pair of home games next weekend. Alabama will first welcome Kennesaw State on Friday night, followed by Memphis on Sunday night. Both games, which are free to the public, will kick off at 7 p.m. CT.

“We've got a lot going on this week,” Bramble said. “We'll bring the players back tomorrow and do some light training. We'll have more days of double sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Classes start on Wednesday, so we will work hard as a staff to keep them (the team) focused. We'll iron out some of the parts of the game that we aren't satisfied with and continue to work hard and get better.”

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