Oct. 30, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Rebecca Howell scored for the third consecutive game, leading Auburn to a 2-0 win over Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl of Soccer. The win was the fourth straight for Auburn (9-7-3, 6-5-0 SEC) over Alabama (6-10-1, 2-7-1 SEC), which has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.
"It is a good quality result for us. It wasn't the prettiest of games and we didn't always play great but we did enough to get the job done," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "It's never easy in Tuscaloosa so we're always happy to come out of here with the win."
Howell nearly collected her eighth goal of the season in the 10th minute as she took a shot from inside the six following a Heather Havron corner but Alabama goalkeeper Justine Bernier was well positioned to make the stop. She would not be held off the board for long though as she collected her fourth goal in the last three games in the 23rd minute when she took two shots on Bernier following another Havron corner, getting stopped the first time before converting her own rebound for the 1-0 lead.
"Heather had a great corner. I had just missed a goal earlier and we got another corner and when we got the second corner I knew I was going to score," Howell said.
Howell's goal was the 22nd of her career, which ties her with Tiffany Smith (1993-96) and Chrissy Culver (2001-04) for fifth all-time in Auburn history. It was also the 65th point of her career, which ties her with Kristen Schier (1994-97) for sixth in Auburn history.
Katy Frierson made it 2-0 Auburn in the 31st minute when she launched a shot from 35 yards out over the Alabama defense and a back-peddling Bernier, scoring her fifth goal of the season and the 14th of her career. Of her 14 career goals, 12 of them have come against SEC competition and she now has 43 career points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 41 matches.
"The coaches did a great job of scouting and told us that the keeper played far off the line so when I got it I took a look to see if she was going back and I just tried to kick it over her head," Frieron said.
Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard was tested 14 minutes into the match as she made spectacular diving save on a Grace Lawson shot, diving to her right to knock it outside the post. The freshman finished with five saves on the night, giving her 106 for the season, which is second all-time for a single season and sixth for a career in the Auburn record books. She also earned her fifth shutout of the season.
The win clinched the sixth seed in next week's SEC Tournament for Auburn and eliminated Alabama from tournament contention. Auburn will play at 2:30pm CT on Wednesday at the Orange Beach Soccer Complex but will not know who it will face in the match until after the Alabama-Ole Miss match on Sunday in Oxford, Miss. An Ole Miss win on Sunday would give the Rebels the third seed while a loss or a tie would put South Carolina into the third spot.
Auburn is on a three-match winning streak heading into the SEC Tournament and has not been scored upon in the last 259 minutes since giving up a goal in the 11th minute at Tennessee.