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Auburn-Alabama Soccer Preview

2002 Auburn Soccer

Auburn Tigers (14-3-1, 6-1-1)


Alabama (11-6-1, 2-5-1) • Nov. 1• 7:30 p.m. CDT

Complete PDF of Release

Scouting the Crimson Tide... The Alabama Crimson Tide was eliminated last weekend from the SEC tournament as they fell to Florida 2-0 and South Carolina 2-1 dropping to a record of 11-6-1, 2-5-1 in the SEC. Dawn Nash leads the team offensively with 10 goals and seven assists and three game-winning goals. Courtney Rogers has played in and started 15 games this season in goal and holds an 8-6-1 record with 20 goals against.

Looking Back... Friday night, the Tigers concluded their game with South Carolina in a 1-1 tie. Auburn then clinched not only the SEC West Division title out-right, but earned at least a share of the SEC title in a 1-0 win over Florida on Sunday. The title is the first-ever for the Tigers and the 1-0 win over the Gators is also the first for Auburn. Numerous records were broken on Sunday as the Tigers earned their most wins in a season with 14, most wins in the SEC with six, most shutouts in a season with nine and sophomore goalkeeper Megan River broke the school record for shutous in a season with seven and career shutouts with 12.

Looking Ahead... The Tigers will begin the SEC tournament in Oxford, Miss. Nov. 7-10. Auburn’s fate as to which seed it will have is in its hands as the Tigers need a tie or a win against Alabama to guarantee the No. 1 seed overall. If the Tigers lose to the Crimson Tide, Tennessee must lose or tie for Auburn to obtain the top spot. Last season, Auburn was the No. 5 seed and made it all the way to the championship game.

The Richter File... Karen Richter is in her fourth season at the helm of the Auburn soccer program. She came to Auburn from her alma mater Central Florida where she posted a 64-44-9 record over six seasons. Richter led UCF to five TAAC titles and a trip to the 1998 NCAA Tournament. She holds a 108-75-11 overall mark in this her 10th season as a collegiate head coach. She has led her teams to six double-digit win seasons, including 11 last season with the Tigers. While at Auburn she has posted a 44-31-2 mark, including leading the Tigers to a school record 13-7 record in 2000. In 2001 Richter was named to the United States National Youth Team coaching staff as the goalkeeper coordinator and is currently serving as an assistant coach on the US Under-19 World Championship team which won the Junior World Cup in September 2002.

100!!!... Head coach Karen Richter reached the 100th victory of her coaching career at home against South Alabama on Sept. 15 in a 4-0 victory. Richter earned 64 wins in her six seasons at Central Florida and has 43 victories in four seasons at Auburn. She has become the 50th coach to reach the milestone.

Back This Season... Assisting Karen Richter again this year are assistant head coach Matthew Mott and assistant coach Heather Walker. Mott, a longtime assistant to Richter at Central Florida, made the move with Richter to the Plains from Orlando and is in his fourth season at Auburn. The Central Florida graduate was promoted to assistant head coach following the 2000 season. Mott and his wife Jennifer became proud parents for the first time in July to Matthew Dean Mott, Jr. Welker is in her second season at Auburn. The 1997 Tulsa graduate came to Auburn after stints as assistant coach at Tulane and Memphis.

Over the Airwaves... Auburn soccer made history in 2001 by having matches broadcast live on the radio. The Tigers will be making even more history in 2002 as all but one match will be over the airwaves. Andy Burcham will provide the play-by-play on WAUD 1230 AM for the games and Chuck Gallina will provide color commentary for home matches. Auburn was 4-2 in the six matches carried live on the radio last season. The Tigers defeated Vanderbilt, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi and lost at Kentucky and to Florida.

Strength In Net... Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rivera has continued to prove why she is worthy of all her accliam. The Miami, Fla., native has now earned the Auburn record for shutouts in a season with seven, and shutouts in a career with 12.

Where’s the Love?... Even though the Tigers have clinched at least a share of the SEC title, they are still not ranked in three of the four soccer top 25 polls this week. Auburn is ranked at No. 25 in the latest Soccer America poll, but is just receiving votes in one other. Auburn earned a season-high ranking of No. 9 in Soccer Buzz earlier this season, but has since fallen out of the top 25.

Setting The Standard... With one game remaining in the 2002 regular season, the Auburn Tigers have set a new precedence in AU soccer. With six SEC wins and 14 overall, Auburn broke its best-ever win mark in both areas. For the first time ever, the team has clinched at least a share of the regular season SEC title. The Tigers also broke the season shutout record with nine in a 1-0 shutout of Florida.

Gotta Wear Shades... The Auburn soccer team has a bright future as the Tigers’ primary offensive production has come from its underclassmen. Freshmen and sophomores have scored 37 of the Tigers’ 43 goals this season and the freshmen and sophomores boast the top five scorers on the team.

Feel The Power... Sophomore midfielder Sara Power broke out against Mississippi State and Ole Miss scoring two game-winning goals and adding another goal and an assist. Power was named the SEC Player of the Week on Oct. 14 and was also awarded with the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week and the Soccer America Team of the Week. Power now is second on the team in goals with seven on the year.

Back On Top... The Auburn Tigers bettered their Co-SEC Western Division title from last season as they have already clinched the out-right West title and have earned a share of the overall title.

On the Tube... Oct. 6 at Georgia, the Tigers made their first TV appearance of the season as they took on the Bulldogs. Auburn defeated Georgia 1-0 in a live broadcast on FOX Sports South.

Banner Unveiled... Against Mississippi State, the Tigers’ banner celebrating their 2001 SEC Western Division Co-Champion title was displayed for the first time at the AU Soccer Complex. The title was the first in Auburn soccer history.

Injury Report... The Tigers have suffered two major losses this season as freshman Jada Stewart will sit out the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to her foot due to a broken bone. Just recently, in the 2-0 win over New Mexico, freshman Ashley Willis suffered a fracture to her tibia as she was tackled by a UNM player late in the game. Willis will also not return for the remainder of the season.

De-Fense... Auburn’s goalkeepers have looked outstanding this season with nine shutouts and only 15 goals scored against all season. However, the Tiger keepers have only had to face 74 shots on goal in 18 games. That includes just one shot on goal for sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rivera against South Alabama Sept. 15. The reason? Ashley Eason, Jen Walters, Sandy Carnes, Erin Hinson, Kellie Evans and a few other Tigers, who have stepped up play defensively this season. Because of that defensive pressure, Auburn has out-shot opponents 261-141 and have out-scored opponents 43-15.

Where We Rank... After pulling out to a 6-0 record on the season, the Tigers were recognized for their accomplishments by earning a highest-ever No. 9 ranking in the Sept. 16 Soccer Buzz top 25 rankings. The Tigers have recently broken back in to one of the four polls with a No. 25 ranking in the latest Soccer America poll.

No Sophomore Slump Here...The Auburn sophomores have stepped up their play in their second season for the Tigers leaving no chance of a sophomore slump in 2002. Sophomore Sarah Steinmann leads the team in scoring with six goals and nine assists. Chrissy Culver leads the team in goals with eight and has added four assists. Following close behind is Sara Power with seven goals and four assists on the season. On defense, Jen Walters is a mainstay for the team and has also contributed to the scoring with two goals and five assists. In the goal, goalkeeper Megan Rivera is coming off a World Championship title with the U.S. Under-19 team, which won at the start of Sept. Rivera has posted seven shutouts already this season and has earned a 0.82 goals against average in 16 games.


Rookie Success...This season, the Tigers have been impressed with their freshmen output. In 2002, the freshman class has scored 14 of the team’s 43 goals. Leading the freshmen is Jaqueline Schwarz, who has scored five goals and assisted on four and Kristen Stewart has scored three goals and assisted on seven. Jessie Allan has scored three times on the season and assisted on four more. Freshman goalkeeper Laura Snell earned a shutout in her first collegiate start and held Evansville to a 3-1 score with the only goal coming on a penalty kick. For her efforts, she was named the SEC Player of the Week as well as being named to the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz teams of the week.

Big Expectations... The Tigers have been voted the top team in the SEC Western Division for the preseason of 2002 by other SEC coaches. In the SEC, Auburn earned 10 of the 12 votes to be the No. 1 team in the division. One of the two votes not for the Tigers came from Auburn, as each team is not permitted to vote for their own team. Auburn returns eight starters from the 2001 team and added an impressive freshman class to the lineup this year.

Snell Steps Up In Rivera Absence... Auburn freshman goalkeeper Laura Snell had big shoes to fill in the absence of All-American Megan Rivera, and lived up to the challenge. Snell shut out No. 17 West Virginia 2-0 in her first collegiate start and went on to earn the 3-1 win over Evansville with the one goal coming on a penalty shot. Snell was named the SEC Player of the Week for her efforts and was recently named to the Soccer America Team of the Week and the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week.

Richter and Rivera Make History; U.S. Wins World Championship... Auburn head coach Karen Richter and sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rivera helped make history as part of the first-ever FIFA Under-19 World Championship team from the United States. Richter worked as an assistant coach for the team and Rivera earned a spot on the 18-man roster that went on to win the World Championship title in a 1-0 sudden death overtime win over Canada. The team went undefeated throughout the tournament taking England in the first game 5-1 and shutting out Australia 4-0 and Chinese Taipei 6-0. The US team went on to defeat Denmark 6-0 in the second round and earned a trip to the semifinals where they defeated Germany 4-1. Rivera earned not only SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2001, but was also named as an All-American and to the All-SEC first team in her rookie year.

Eight Newcomers Join the Tigers...For the 2002 season, eight freshman join the squad that made Auburn’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Although the team appears young, the Tigers were voted as the top team in the SEC West for the year by other conference coaches and are off to their best start in school history at 7-1.

Co-SEC West Champs... Auburn won a share of the Southeastern Conference Western division title in 2001. The Tigers defeated Alabama 2-1 in overtime on Nov. 2 to earn the share of the school’s first-ever division title in soccer. Auburn shares the title with Mississippi State after MSU scored with nine seconds left in the second overtime on Nov. 2 at Mississippi.

Record Wins... Auburn’s five SEC victories in 2001 ties the school record for conference wins in a season. The Tigers equaled wins of the 1995 team that finished 5-3 in the SEC. The 1995 team defeated Mississippi, Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama to earn its five victories. In 2001 Auburn got past Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Vanderbilt and Alabama. In 2002, the Tigers have already attained the five wins with a 5-1-1 record with four regular season games remaining.



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