TUSCALOOSA, ALA. – The Alabama Crimson Tide soccer team defeated North Texas 3-1 on Sunday afternoon thanks to a stout performance from the Alabama backline.
The win saw Wes Hart’s team improve to 5-2-1 on the season and came in Alabama’s return home after a five-game road trip.
“The team as a whole has been pretty stingy,” Hart said. “We certainly would have loved to have gotten the clean sheet but we tried a few things, obviously we brought in a new goalkeeper and tried to get a lot of people some playing time. I wanted to get some players some playing time and I’ll certainly take a 3-1 win.”
The Crimson Tide opened the scoring in the 5th minute after heavy pressure down the right side found Casey Wertz driving into the North Texas penalty area. The junior forward squared the ball to freshman midfielder Reyna Reyes in the middle of the area who lashed her shot into the top right corner.
A big save from junior goalkeeper Alex Plavin in the 11th minute denied Allie Byrd from bringing the Mean Green level after she dispossessed freshman defender Bella Scaturro and charged in on goal.
Alabama doubled its advantage through Carly Wyatt in the 34th minute when she connected with a crisp cross from Gaby Duca. The header was the freshman forward’s first of her career.
Two second-half goals, one from each team, completed the scoring: Riley Mattingly for Alabama and Berklee Peters for North Texas.
One of the biggest stories from the game involved the versatility and performance from Reyes. Making her return to the Crimson Tide after an international break spent training with her national team, Reyes seemed to cover every inch of the pitch in route to her goal and assist.
“She’s a stud and such an important part of this team in a variety of different positions,” Hart said. “She started as a holding midfielder, went to outside back, then played as a centerback in a three-back.
"Just to be able to move her around to wherever the other team is hurting us is so huge.”
The undefined role Reyes is playing for the Crimson Tide is nothing new to the Prosper, Texas native who had just returned from training and playing with Mexican National team’s U20 side.
“Ever since I was little, my coaches that I’ve played with for club have moved me around a lot so I grew up playing and practicing everywhere,” Reyes said. “I just know that I have to do what I have to do in that role and if I don’t then I let my team down and that not something I’m going to do.”
Reyes and the Crimson Tide outshot the Mean Green 17-10 on the afternoon, placing 10 if its efforts on target. Alabama also held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
A solid performance from North Texas goalkeeper Kelsey Brann kept the Crimson Tide attack from running riot on the afternoon. The redshirt sophomore from Humble, Texas made seven saves in her 90 minutes of action.
Alabama goes back on the road in a week’s time to take on Arkansas in its first SEC match of the season before returning home on Sept. 26 to face South Carolina.