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Alabama soccer knocks off Georgia, 2-1

Friday night was a night of celebration and history for the Alabama Crimson Tide. On the same night that the softball team celebrated its national championship at Rhoads Stadium, the Alabama soccer team beat Georgia, 2-1, for the first time since 2004.

The Tide scored twice in a four-minute span to open the second half to give head coach Todd Bramble’s squad an advantage against a Georgia team that competed hard and threw Alabama out of the rhythm it had grown accustomed to playing with during the first half.

With the game tied 0-0 at halftime, Alabama came out on a mission in the second half. Sophomore Pia Rijsdijk slipped a through ball to freshman Katie Bourgeois on the left side of the 18-yard box. Bourgeois beat her defender and tucked the ball into the far post for the Tide’s first goal of the game in the 47th minute. The goal was Bourgeois’ seventh goal of the year.

Alabama quickly got things going again only two minutes later when Rijsdijk again slipped a ball through the left side to midfielder Molly Atherton coming forward. Atherton beat her defender, took a few touches and buried the ball into the near post to Alabama the two-goal advantage.

Georgia fought through the initial push by the Tide during the first ten minutes of the second half and drew within a goal when Meghan Gibbons took a pass from Nikki Hill and scored to put some pressure on the Crimson Tide. Gibbons’ goal was her third goal in two games.

The two teams traded opportunities throughout the second half including a number of free kick and corner kick chances. Georgia pushed most of its midfield and back line forward in an attempt to find an equalizer, but the Crimson Tide held strong and earned the victory and its first three points in conference play.

With her goal, Bourgeois improved moved to 16 points on the season, a number that is best on the Crimson Tide roster. Atherton’s fourth goal of the season increased her point total to 11. Rijsdijk’s two assists increased her point total to 11 on the season. Rijsdijk, Atherton and Bourgeois paced the Tide with three shots apiece.

The Tide improves to 6-2-1 on the season and will take the field again on Sunday when it takes on Ole Miss at 1 p.m. at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.

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