TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was a tense affair from the start.
It was even more dramatic at the end, only not the way Alabama hoped.
With Sydney Richards scoring in the 108th minute, Auburn pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory to take home the Iron Bowl Trophy in soccer.
“We’ve shown a lot of grit and a lot of toughness all season long,” Crimson Tide coach Wes Hart said. “We know that we’ve got the firepower to keep scoring goals. I don’t see quit in this team. Effort was good but the end product wasn’t there.
"The game is won and lost in the boxes. I though we were better in between the boxes but they were a bit more proficient within.”
From the beginning the game was a tense affair with plenty of physicality. The Crimson Tide seemed to have the early advantage, dominating possession inside the Tigers' half, but failed to create too many scoring opportunities.
Auburn finally made the host team pay in the 32nd minute when Hailey Whitaker let fly from distance to beat freshman goalkeeper AJ Crooks, capping off a devastating counter attack from Auburn against the run of play.
Alabama (9-5-3 overall, 4-3-2 SEC) nearly found its equalizer in the 42nd minute through Serena Pham. The freshman forward gathered the ball from a poor Auburn clearance, letting her shot fly from distance off the volley after controlling on her chest. Her shot struck the crossbar and the follow-up by Reyna Reyes was smothered by Tiger goalkeeper Kate Hart.
Auburn carried its one-goal lead into the dressing rooms.
A second half full of goals began in the 59th minute when Casey Wertz knock on put Carlee Giammona in on goal. The freshman midfielder rocketed her shot near post to bring the Crimson Tide level.
The Tigers took back the lead almost immediately through Rocio Sanders. Quick buildup play on the left side of the field eventually found her feet on the edge of the box. Her long-range effort rattled the post, but deflected off the back of Crooks in goal before crossing the line.
Alabama once again found its equalize, this time in the 69th minute. Nealy Martin charged forward before lofting a ball into the feet of Giammona, who flicked on for freshman forward Carly Wyatt to slap into the bottom left corner.
The game-winning goal was assisted by Whitaker and Sanders.
Alabama outshot Auburn 29 to 10 on the afternoon, placing 12 of those shots on target. The Crimson Tide also held an 11-0 advantage on corners.
Alabama will retake the field on Thursday, hosting Vanderbilt in its final regular season match of the season.