Aug. 24, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. -
Kara Kasten's second goal of the year was the difference-maker in a highly offensive contest with little to show for it on the scoreboard as the Auburn soccer team improved to 2-0-0 on the year with an exciting 1-0 win over UAB on Sunday night. Kasten scored on a breakaway in the 56th minute off of a Gabi Rivera feed, scoring the third game-winning goal of her career.
"Gabi gave me a great ball and I was able to hold off the defenders and get a quality shot off," Kasten said.
The game was a competitive one from the get-go, though neither team was able to light the scoreboard up where it mattered most for the first 55 minutes. That all changed when Auburn counter-attacked on UAB. Rivera started the play when she gained control of the ball in on the defensive side of the midfield stripe and dribbled up into the attacking third before splitting a pair of defenders with a strike to Kasten. Kasten did the rest from there, holding a defender off on her back while taking it just inside the top of the 18. She then rocketed a shot to the opposite upper-90 for her second goal of the season.
With Auburn taking a total of 20 shots and UAB 11, it was the defenses that played a vital role on both ends. The biggest play in the UAB offensive third may have come just over three minutes into the second half as UAB's Tiffini Turpin's shot following a corner was headed straight for the near side post, only to have Auburn freshman Katy Frierson step in and make a game-changing save.
"You have to give UAB a lot of credit, the kept battling right until the very end," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "Our defense really stepped up tonight and you have to give our back line a lot of credit for keeping them off the board."
Auburn's attack produced two quality scoring chances in the first half but both resulted in near-misses. The first was almost identical to the play that Auburn ultimately scored on, only this time it was Rebecca Howell that fed Kasten with 25:15 left in half. Kasten's shot went near post but UAB goalkeeper Kate Blankenship was able to scoop it up for the save.
Less than a minute later it was Howell who had the chance to get Auburn on the board but her shot sailed over the top to keep the game scoreless.
Auburn out-shot UAB 9-5 in the first half, but both teams could only create one corner for themselves.
The offensive intensity turned up in the second half for both teams as Auburn registered 11 shots and UAB eight. With 35:29 left in the half, Monica Afanador's header off of a cross just missed while a Kasten cross with just under 13 minutes remaining eluded everyone in the box, including the two Auburn offensive players.
Allison Whitworth finished the night with five saves on the night and recorded the 15th shutout of her career for the win while UAB's Blankenship finished the night with 11 saves.
UAB fell to 0-2-0 with the loss, losing a pair of 1-0 contests.
Auburn will play its next four matches on the road, starting this Friday night at Missouri.