Todd Bramble has watched his University of Alabama women’s soccer team come a long way in the past two months.
The Crimson Tide rebounded from a poor performance in a 2-0 loss at the University of San Diego on Sept. 2 to post their first victory — a 1-0 decision — against a ranked team (San Diego State) in their next outing.
Last month, Alabama weathered a 0-4-1 winless streak that had it teetering on the brink of elimination for the Southeastern Conference tournament.
But a victory against the University of Tennessee, a tie at the University of Georgia, and a victory against archrival Auburn in the regular-season finale helped Alabama secure eighth and final spot in the SEC tournament.
The Crimson Tide showed they belonged Wednesday, upsetting top-seeded University of South Carolina 1-0. The victory earned Alabama (10-7-3) a match against fourth-seeded University of Florida at 7:30 tonight in the tournament semifinals.
Bramble said he sensed his team could pull the “upset” considering it played so well Friday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and South Carolina had such an emotional win at Florida in its final regular-season game to clinch the regular-season title.
Now Bramble hopes the Crimson Tide can build on the fast start they had against the Gamecocks and keep their magical flurry at the end of the season going.
“We had a really good week of training and one of the best weeks or preparation we have had in a long time,” Bramble said of the time leading up to the South Carolina match. I sensed the team gained confidence and the players really believed in themselves. I really felt like we were going to come out and have a good performance.”
Bramble isn’t sure how his team will fare against Florida, which beat Alabama 4-1 on Oct. 7. That victory was part of a five-match winless streak that had the Crimson Tide searching for answers. But a return to health of key players has helped Alabama regain its footing in time to allow its true potential to help it challenge for a possible NCAA tournament berth.
“I think we will play well,” Bramble said. “There is nothing I could see coming that would force this team to let up or for it to be intimidated. They have the right mentality and they know what they’re going to do out there.”
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.