Continuing their strong season and first place lead, UWA’s women soccer prepared to take on Montevallo at home on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., and North Alabama in Florence on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Tigers faced non-conference opponent Montevallo. After a long winning streak and only two losses, the Tigers were confident going into the game.
Regarding the Tigers’ confidence, head coach Graeme Orr commented, “It’s important to come out focused and after a big win on Sunday [against West Florida] it is easy to come out flat,” and “the experience of our team showed from the first whistle tonight. I thought we could have passed a bit better, but it’s a sign of a good team to find a way to win. This sets us up nicely for the remainder of the conference season.”
Just as Orr said, the Tigers came out and played with poise.
Senior Nicki Gears set the tone with a goal in minute 17, off an assist from freshman Nina Coleman. Gears is now tied for fifth as the nation’s top active career leader with 47 goals in her four seasons. Additionally, Gears remains as the leading scorer for UWA’s women program.
With a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Tigers collectively shut down Montevallo for the remaking half.
Despite Gears’ goal, the Tigers widened the gap with two goals from freshman Nina Coleman. Coleman, assisted both times by Gears, scored in minute 48 and minute 80 in the second half, improving the lead to 3-0. Coleman now holds three goals under her name.
During this match, everyone could see the chemistry between Coleman and Gears on Wednesday that led the Tigers to a victory. “I’m so happy for my team and to be able to represent my fellow freshman on the field,” said Coleman. “It was a great win tonight. Nicki and I are really clicking up front right now. I love being able to play with her.”
With great energy and excellent finishes, the Tigers held Montevallo to a scoreless game, improving their record to 12-2-1.
Concluding the game, Orr said, “Tonight was a great tune-up for a big game on Sunday,” and “we still have three games left that could determine where we end up at the end of the season. Each game is important and it’s important that we keep doing the little things so that the big things will come in the end.”
Following a win at home, the Tigers return to the road to face longtime rival University of North Alabama in a derby match on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
On Sunday, following a huge win over Montevallo, the Tigers faced their toughest opponent yet, the North Alabama Lions.
From the start of the match, the game was physical with both teams creating great chances to score. However, after a call in the penalty box, the Lion’s Chloe Richards scored off a PK in minute 12.
Following a scoreless half for the Tigers, Richards came back harder with two more goals off assists from Erica Cervi and Alyssa Bova. Richards now holds 25 goals and leads the league with most goals scored.
Though the Tigers matched the Lions in shots on goals, the physicality of the match and unequal foul calls–including a red card on Tigers, forcing the Tigers to play 10v11 for the remaining match–proved to be the game changers.
Concluding the game, the Tigers dropped to 12-3-1 overall and 7-2-1in GSC, placing them third in the league.
Although the Tigers have already clinched a spot in the GSC tournament, their next opponents West Georgia and Valdosta are still battling for a place in the post-season play.
The Tigers will conclude their season with a final road match against West Georgia on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in Carrollton, Ga. and Valdosta State on Sunday, Nov. 2, at home, which will serve as Senior Night, at 1 p.m.