Ranked Teams Battling For SEC Soccer Title

Auburn, Ala.--The 19th-ranked Auburn women's soccer team (12-2-1, 7-0-1 SEC), which clinched its fourth consecutive SEC Western Division title with a 2-1 win over LSU on Sunday, will look take a huge step toward a second overall SEC title as the Tigers face sixth-ranked Tennessee on Friday night in Auburn.

Tennessee is unbeaten in eight SEC games and is 11-2-2 overall this season. The match starts at 7 p.m. on Friday at the AU Soccer Complex.

Tiger senior and team captain Jenn Walters says that her team has set everything up to this point exactly how they would like it. "We always talk about how we have control over our own destination and Friday night will be another case of that against Tennessee," she says.

One major reason for the Tigers' success this season has been the continued strong play of senior goalkeeper Megan Rivera. Rivera has only allowed eight goals to be scored on her all season for an extremely impressive 0.50 goals against average. The three time All-American selection also now holds the SEC's career shutout record with 33.

Auburn's three time All-American goalkeeper Megan Rivera is a key player for the Tigers.

Offensively, the Tigers are also performing well scoring an average of two goals per game. One of the reasons for the offensive improvement is Coach Karen Hoppa's decision to play a three back defense this season due to Rivera's strong play in goal.

"We couldn't play a three back if we were weak in the goal," Hoppa says. "I think that alone--her ability--allows us to play a three-back, which gives us an extra midfielder, which gives us an extra attacker. And that extra attacker has really made a difference in our games being able to score multiple goals in games."

If the Tigers can put everything together and come away with a win on Friday night they will have a one game lead over Tennessee and hold the tiebreaker and a two game lead over their next closest competitor, which is Florida, who they defeated earlier in the season 1-0. Following Friday night's game vs. the Vols, the Tigers have only two games remaining to play in the regular season vs. Alabama and Georgia.

Friday night's game will be the "All Auburn, All Orange" game for the soccer program and admission to the game is free.


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