October 29, 2004
AUBURN -- The 10th-ranked Auburn soccer team’s Sara Power scored two early goals en route to a 3-1 win over arch rival Alabama in front of 1,224 at the Auburn Soccer Complex Friday night to round out the regular season.
The Tigers (14-2-2, 9-0-2 SEC) ended the regular season as the SEC’s only undefeated team in conference play and secured the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament next week, in which they will meet up with Ole Miss.
“All four seniors contributed tonight which makes this so special,” head coach Karen Hoppa said.
“And, they have been such huge contributors all four years. They turned this into a championship program.
“We came out on fire tonight and that is how we needed to,” Hoppa said. “Hopefully, this momentum will carry us into next week. We will enjoy this and get ready for Ole Miss. We are just glad to go a full 11-game conference season as the only undefeated team.”
Power scored her third and fourth goals of the season within a span of six minutes in the opening half. Her first goal came on an assist from Courtney Crandell at the 5:18 mark to put the Tigers up 1-0. In the 10th minute, Power again scored, this time after Sarah Steinmann and Ashley Willis each passed the ball in front of UA goalkeeper Laura Lowman prior to Power firing the ball into the net.
“Our main focus tonight was for us to set the intensity,” Power said. “She (Steinmann) always makes those passes and I was there for it.”
Senior Chrissy Culver knocked in her seventh goal this year on a breakaway past Lowman in the 28th minute, putting Auburn ahead 3-0 at the halftime break. Auburn goalkeeper Megan Rivera assisted on Culver’s score.
“Megan had a great punt and it slipped past the defender and I just got behind it,” Culver said.
The Crimson Tide got on the board at the 61:10 mark when an Alabama player was tripped up in the box. Emily Pitek scored on the penalty kick to set the score at 3-1, Auburn.
The Tigers honored its four seniors prior to the game and celebrated their SEC Western Division Championship with a fireworks display following regulation. Culver, Steinmann, Rivera and Jenn Walters each played in their final regular season home match at the AU Soccer Complex.
“They are amazing,” said Power about the Auburn seniors. “They are my friends, my sisters, my family. I don’t know what I am going to do without them next year.”
“We are so close,” Culver said. “I am so glad that we could all contribute tonight.”
Next up for Auburn is the SEC Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 4, 5 and 7. Due to damage from Hurricane Ivan in September, the tournament will be held in Auburn rather than Orange Beach, Ala., as it was originally scheduled. The first match of the tournament will be held Thursday, Nov. 4, at noon, featuring Auburn and 7th seeded Ole Miss. For more information, check out www.secsports.com or call 1-800-AUB-1957.