Auburn soccer can make history with trip to Sweet 16
Nov. 20, 2014
By Charles Goldberg
Alyse Scott makes the save for Auburn
|Match 22: vs. #11 Texas Tech (NCAA Tournament Second Round)|
|Date||Friday, Nov. 20 | 2 p.m. CT|
|Location||Gainesville, Fla. | Donald R. Dizney Stadium (1,500)|
|Tickets||$7 - Adults; $3 - Children (12 & under); $3 Seniors (65 & over) | Buy Online|
|Additional Info||Auburn Notes | Texas Tech Notes | SEC Notes | NCAA Tournament Bracket|
|Online||Twitter: @AuburnSoccer | SEC Network+ | Live Stats|
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coach Karen Hoppa said her young team wasn't ready for the perils of post-season play when they showed up for the SEC Tournament a few weeks ago.
The Tigers learned quickly from their loss and mistakes.
Auburn beat Florida Gulf Coast 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last weekend, and now will advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time ever if it beats No. 11 Texas Tech in Round Two at 2 p.m. Friday in Gainesville. The game will be televised on the SEC Network-Plus. Texas Tech is also looking for its first Sweet 16 berth.
"We're one game away from making history, 90 minutes away from making history," said Auburn goalkeeper Alyse Scott. "That puts some nerves and pressure, but we're the underdogs, so the pressure will be on Texas Tech to come out and perform, or we'll take advantage of it."
Texas Tech is 15-3-2. Auburn is 12-6-3.
The four-team regional also features a Friday game between host Florida and California. The winners will advance to Sunday's regional finals at 1.
Only eight of Auburn's 25 players had ever been to the NCAAs before last weekend. The Tigers failed to make the NCAA Tournament last year, and they were still smarting from it this season.
"It's affected us in a positive way," Hoppa said. "Not making the NCAA Tournament last year we've played with a fire of we want to make sure that doesn't happen again. Now that we're here in the NCAA Tournament, we're going to make the most of it because we know it's not a given. When you have these opportunities, you want to make the most of it."
Hoppa said the Tigers were initially caught off guard on the way to their SEC Tournament loss to Kentucky. By last weekend, the defense was ready, especially after Auburn's early goal against Florida Gulf Coast. Auburn recorded its 10th shutout of the season.
"Our defense stood tall. We played great defense for the next 80 minutes. It was a great performance for our team," Hoppa said. "We thought we had a little bit of a defensive letdown in the SEC tournament, so we wanted to be better."
Hoppa said Scott played "a great game" in goal.
"When we needed her, she came up with two big saves, one of them at point-blank range without giving up a rebound."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine