Early in the season it became apparent that the University of Alabama women’s soccer program had turned the corner after several years of respectable output.
After a 2-1 start that saw ‘Bama begin play in the Sunshine State, Alabama came home for a critical game against No. 18 Clemson. To the surprise of many, ‘Bama won that game handily, pitching a 3-0 shootout. With some momentum on their side, the 3-1 Tide began a critical three-game road trip through the entire state of Utah, where they would face the Utes, Utah Valley, and No. 6 BYU. Riding a hot hand, the Tide easily dispatched Valley, tied the Utes in a defensive draw, and beat the Cougars — all on the road.
That was when most of us knew the Tide (5-1-1) had not only morphed into a very good team, but one that had the possibility to claim a special season.
Two-plus months later, an 11-game winning streak, three more ranked foes later, and that mission has been achieved, as Alabama has seen a seasons of first. For the first time ever, it has swept through the SEC to-date with a perfect 8-0-0 mark. It has beaten every ranked opponent for the first time ever. It claimed its first division crown for the program. And it has all culminated in a first-ever No. 1 national ranking.
There are still two regular season games remaining — hosting the Gators, and a season-ending road match in Auburn — plus plenty of post-season soccer left to play. But this squad deserves both the recognition for the championship, and a tip o’ the cap from Bama fans everywhere.
Roll Tide, ladies.
If you want to follow the Tide, they are on the Twitter machine at @AlabamaSoccer.