Nov. 1, 2007
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The Auburn soccer team will attempt to win its second straight SEC Western Division title on Friday night when it travels to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl of Soccer matchup to close out the regular season. Auburn enters Friday night's 7pm CT match 1.0 point behind West-leading LSU in its chase for a sixth division title in the last seven years.
Auburn is 9-7-1, 5-5-0 SEC, and has already secured its seventh consecutive and 12th overall SEC Tournament appearance. Led by sophomores Rebecca Howell and Caitlin King (18 points each), Auburn will need a victory and an LSU loss or tie at Arkansas to win the West.
"We are still in the running for an SEC West title and a win on Friday would give us a 10-win season, which carries some weight when it comes to NCAA Tournament consideration," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said.
Alabama (9-9-1, 2-7-1 SEC) has struggled in SEC play and has already been eliminated from SEC Tournament contention, but that does not mean this is a meaningless game for the Crimson Tide, who walked into a similar situation in 2005 and beat Auburn, 6-3, in Tuscaloosa.
"It's the Iron Bowl of Soccer; all records go out the window. Everyone knows it's tough to play in Tuscaloosa. It should be a tough, physical game," Hoppa said. "(Alabama) Coach Staley played a 3-3-4 against Tennessee and they play a man-marking system with a sweeper, which is different from what we normally see, so we need to be prepared for anything."
Excluding the loss in 2005, Auburn has dominated the Iron Bowl of Soccer matchup of late, going 5-1-1 against its cross-state rival since 2000, Hoppa's second year on the Plains.