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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn defeats UAB behind duo of Richards and Bechard

<p>Sydney Richards dribbles past defenders against UAB in Auburn, Alabama, on Sept. 9, 2021at the Auburn Soccer Complex</p>

Sydney Richards dribbles past defenders against UAB in Auburn, Alabama, on Sept. 9, 2021at the Auburn Soccer Complex

Auburn soccer defeated UAB 4-1 on Thursday night at the Auburn Soccer Complex. With the win, Auburn gets its fourth win of the season and extends its winning streak to nine games in a row, dating back to last spring.

The nine-game win streak is the longest active streak in Division 1. 

"What's most exciting is I don't think we've played our best soccer yet, but we have a mentality," said head coach Karen Hoppa. "It's a fighting mentality. They work hard, they grind it out, they make things happen. They're finding a way, and we know they can play better, so we're really excited."

Auburn’s forwards showed up on Thursday. Coming into the game, Auburn’s forwards had totaled three shots on goal and scored zero goals through three games. Against the UAB Blazers, they totaled five shots on goal and scored four goals. 

Redshirt sophomore Kylie Bechard was the first to score for Auburn, after a cross deflected to her and she was able to tap-in to put Auburn up 1-0 in the 40th minute. It was Bechard’s first goal for Auburn.  Maddie Simpson and Mallory Mooney were credited with the assist on the goal.

"It was just great," Bechard said. "It's been a long road getting here. It's been like two years since I've been able to play, but it was just an awesome feeling.” 

Within 90 seconds of play resuming in the second half, UAB equalized with a goal from Lizzie Hill. 16 seconds later, Auburn was at the other end and junior Sydney Richards scored an unassisted goal to give the lead right back to Auburn, 2-1. 

Richards wasn’t done for the night. Ten minutes later the left foot of Richards slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to pick up her second goal of the night and extended the Auburn lead, 3-1. 

Bechard wasn’t going to let Richards have all the fun, she matched the Richards brace in the 69th minute with a similar shot from a similar spot. Bechard had expanded the Auburn lead to three with 21 minutes to play. 

"We need a lot of people to be able to score and be able to come off the bench and make an impact. I really think that's important,” Richards said. 

Auburn will look to continue its winning streak when they face Chattanooga at 1 p.m. CST on Sunday at the Auburn Soccer Complex. 

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