The Auburn soccer team retained the Iron Bowl Trophy as the Tigers defeated Alabama (8-6-1, 0-5-1 SEC), 4-2, Tuesday night at the Alabama Soccer Stadium. The win was Auburn’s fifth straight against the Crimson Tide and 14th in the last 17 meetings between the two teams.
“It was a typical Iron Bowl of soccer,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “Just when you think we might’ve put the game away at 3-1, they get one back immediately. That’s how this game goes. I’m really proud of my team and thought it was a total team effort. We battled as hard as we needed to battle and fought for each othertonight.”
Senior forward Kristen Dodson paced the Auburn (6-4-3, 3-1-2 SEC) offense with her sixth career brace and third of the season. She continues to climb the Auburn record books with 28 career goals and 83 career points.
Playing in their first Iron Bowl, Jaelyn Gadson netted the game-winner and Dani Solaru added her first collegiate goal to ice the match. The Tigers’ four goals and 14 points were both season highs.
Alyssa Malonson, Bri Folds, Sarah Houchin, Ellie Leek, Taylor Troutman and Gianna Montini contributed to the Tigers’ scoring as each registered an assist on the night.
Dodson converted in the 34th minute as she capped off a sequence of crosses in front of the frame with a diving header into the back of the net. Folds played the cross to Montini in front of the net, who then kept the play alive with a header to Dodson for the finish.
Following the half, the senior forward then tallied the brace as she received a pass from Ellie Leek behind the Alabama defense and beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.
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“I was proud of the way we battled tonight,” Dodson said. “It was a team effort. This definitely helps us build confidence and shows that we can play with any team.”
After Alabama cut the lead in half with a goal on a penalty kick in the 69th minute, Gadson took a pass from Troutman near midfield, streaked behind the Alabama defense down the right side and finished in the near corner past a diving goalkeeper.
Alabama answered less than a minute later to cut the lead to one, but the back-and-forth nature of the match continued as Solaru’s sliding finish on a ball from Molanson off the left post capped off the scoring for the match.
“We have to build on this,” Hoppa said. “We had been struggling offensively the past couple of games, but we’ve been working hard on it. I was proud of the way the team stayed after it. Kristen Dodson, the senior, leading our offense and giving us the confidence to go forward. This is certainly momentum we need to build on down the stretch.”
Auburn enters the home stretch of its SEC and regular season with a match against No. 10 Florida Sunday, Oct. 15. Kickoff at the Auburn Soccer Complex is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.
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