COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Despite leading 6-4 at halftime, Alabama fell to South Carolina 12-8 on Friday night. The Crimson Tide couldn’t sustain their first half success on offense for 60 minutes. The scoring got started with sophomore midfielder Andrew Feeney (Old Greenwich, CT/ Greenwich) found junior attackman Chris Palasek (Rocky Point, NY/ Rocky Point) on the crease. South Carolina attackman Billy Binder (Gambrills, MD/ Archbishop Spalding) would score unassisted on a dodge from x to even things up at 1-1 for the Gamecocks.
Minutes later, sophomore midfielder Davis Diamond (Norcross, GA/ Norcross) found Palasek on the crease for the captain’s second tally, making it 2-1 Alabama. Carolina would even things up early in the second quarter with a low shot from the top of the box to make it 2-2. Freshman midfielder Alex Ternahan (Bethany Beach, DE/ Worcester Prep) wasted no time taking the lead back, sidestepping his defender with a pump fake and beating the Gamecock goalie high to make it 3-2. Diamond would then find Palasek again for his third goal of the half. Great ball movement from the Alabama offense kept Carolina on their heels and set up the Tide’s 5th goal, where sophomore midfielder Jake Griffith (Atlanta, GA/ Riverwood) fed Andrew Feeney to make it 5-2.
South Carolina’s Billy Binder would continue to give the Alabama defense trouble, recording his second and third goals of the game before halftime. With 3 minutes to go in the first half, Chris Palasek split two defenders on a dodge from x to make it 6-4 Alabama at half.
Andrew Feeney accelerates past a USC midfielder. via cdn4.ngin.com
Binder and co. took control in the second half, sustaining long possessions and capitalizing on numerous unforced turnovers by the Crimson Tide. Binder finished with 6 goals on the evening. Carolina would take the lead with 5:48 left to go in the third and keep surging, leading 11-6 until Palasek scored his fifth goal to cut it to 11-7. The Gamecocks continued to maintain possession, eventually scoring to make it 12-7 with 4 minutes remaining. Palasek found Tom Cheek for a goal from outside to make it 12-8, but it was too little too late.
Chris Palasek prepares to roll inside and score the fourth goal of the game. via cdn2.ngin.com
Against the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Crimson Tide struggled to find their rhythm offensively. A combination of near misses (8 pipe shots in total) and excellent saves by the West Virginia keeper stifled the Bama offense all day.
West Virginia would get on the board first, scoring on a quick-stick to make it 1-0. The Mountaineers would get a number of quality scoring chances in the next couple possessions, but were unable to hit cage or were denied by Bama goalie Jake Springer (Baltimore, MD/ St. Paul’s).
Sophomore attackman Tom Cheek (Baltimore, MD/ St. Paul’s) would answer with a goal of his own, shrugging off two defenders to sneak a low shot past the WVU keeper. West Virginia responded with a goal to make it 2-1. But, in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Andrew Feeney beat his defender from x and buried a lefty laser to the top corner to make things 2-2.
Bama would concede two goals in the second quarter and entered halftime trailing 4-2. The Crimson Tide capitalized on a West Virginia penalty, as Chris Palasek took matters into his own hands and scored unassisted to make it 4-3. Moments later, Palasek beat his defender from x and snuck a Canadian backhand goal between the WVU keeper’s legs to tie the game 4-4 entering the final quarter.
Shortly after the start of the fourth quarter, Jake Griffith beat his defender on a dodge from up top and sent a screamer just under the crossbar to seize the lead 5-4. Unfortunately, that would mark Alabama’s final score of the afternoon. A rebound from a Springer save couldn’t be corralled by the Tide defense, and a WVU attacker scooped up the groundball and beat Springer for the easy put-back. Two more Mountaineer goals were enough to keep the Tide at bay, and Alabama was defeated 7-5.
Next up for Alabama (3-3, 0-1) is nationally ranked divisional opponent Georgia Tech (9-2, 2-0) on Friday night at 6:30 at home. Alabama has defeated the Yellow Jackets both of the previous two meetings, but only by two goals each time. This year’s meeting should be a low-scoring defensive struggle like always, as Tech has given up more than 7 goals only once all season.
Alex Ternahan keeps his balance despite a cross-check to the neck. via cdn3.ngin.com