Auburn's West Coast road swing was just about as successful as they could have hoped. Sure it would have been nice to beat Long Beach State in regulation, but what would the LBC be without so much drama? Two wins are two wins. Now Auburn comes home to open the season in front of their own fans with a brand new #16 ranking in their pocket.
The official YouTube account posted an interview with Coach Hoppa yesterday that covers both last weekend (including the decision to go with RSFR Sarah Le Beau in goal instead of Alyse Scott) and this weekend. The official site has their own preview, so I'll try to provide a little more information on the matchups:
The Blazers (1-0-0) kicked off the season last Friday with a 4-3 overtime win at Austin Peay. The Blazers peppered Austin Peay's keeper with 17 shots (11 on goal). Senior forward Kasey Johnson found the equalizer in the 81st minute, then fired home a loose ball in the box for the winner just inside of 105 minutes.
Other than Johnson, the Blazers are a young group. They started 6 freshmen against Austin Peay, including their keeper Kelsey Daugherty. Their first two goals of the season, which came after APSU took a 2-0 lead, both came from players making their first appearance for UAB.
Auburn is 5-4 all-time against UAB, but the series has been defined by streaks. UAB won the first four meetings. Auburn has won the last five.
The Purple Paladins (1-1-0) will attempt to pick up their first win over Auburn in 5 tries on Sunday. Furman opened their season last Friday with a 2-1 upset win at home over Oklahoma in double overtime. Senior Stephanie DeVita scored both goals, beating the keeper off the dribble before firing home the winner with just over 4 minutes to play in the second extra period. However, Furman could not keep the momentum going on Sunday, as they surrendered two early goals to Northeastern and fell by a 3-1 final. After they were unable to put a shot on frame in the first half, Furman had a chance to tie in the final ten minutes of the game, but surrendered a clinching goal to the Huskies in the 87th minute.
Furman is led by the aforementioned DeVita, who has scored all 3 goals so far this season. Rose Hull has started between the posts for the first two games this season, allowing 3 goals in 16 shots on goal. Hull was pulled at halftime against Northeastern in favor of Maggie Grisell*.
Furman does play on Friday night at home against North Greenville University, a Division II team located in Tigerville, South Carolina.
Auburn leads the all-time series 4-0, picking up a 2-1 road win in Greenville, SC last year. On an unrelated note, The jersey combinations in last year's matchup were absolutely fantastic. Hopefully both teams go with similar kits on Sunday.
If Las Vegas put lines on such things, Auburn would be favored in both games, but the Tigers can't expect to sleepwalk through either of these games. The best case scenario would be a couple of strong performances in front of big home crowds. If you're in town, be sure to make it out there tonight and/or Sunday. There are some great promotions available.
*-oddly enough, both teams changed goalkeepers at halftime. I'm not sure why.