TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama women's soccer team earned its first win over a top-five ranked opponent in program history, with a 1-0 shutout victory over No. 5 Texas A&M on Thursday night at the Alabama Soccer Complex. Junior Nealy Martin scored her second goal of the season in the 79th minute, thanks to a flawless pass from sophomore Taylor Morgan to propel the Crimson Tide (8-7-2, 2-5-1 SEC) past the Aggies (12-2-1, 4-2-1).
"What a huge win," head coach Wes Hart said. "This was a must win game for us, and we took care of business. I thought we played well and had some good looks on goal. I think what it came down to tonight was the soccer component. We had some good moments of connecting passes and had the composure to do that, which allowed us to break them down."
From the start of the game, the Crimson Tide played aggressive and with a sense of urgency. Alabama almost managed to get on the scoreboard in the 33rd minute of action, when sophomore Kaley Verpaele struck the ball from over 40 yards out and senior Abbie Boswell rebounded the ball as it ricocheted off the cross bar. Boswell's header was directly on target, but Texas A&M recovered the shot. Despite a scoreless first half, Alabama entered halftime in mid-season-form.
The game-deciding sequence came in the 79th minute, as Morgan took possession of the ball and found Martin in perfect position to chip the ball right past the goalkeeper's head. Nealy picked up her second goal of the season, while Morgan notched her fifth assist of the season.
Alabama continued to dominate the ball as the clock moved toward 90 minutes. The Tide received insurance as sophomore goalkeeper Alex Plavin hung tough between the posts denying Texas A&M any chance to tie up the score through the final 10 minutes of regulation. Plavin finished the night with eight saves, just one tally short of her career-high of nine saves.
In the tightly contested match, Texas A&M edged Alabama in shots, 21-9, but the Tide earned five corner kicks to the Aggie's four.
The victory marks Alabama's sixth shutout of the season and is the second top-10 victory of the Wes Hart era.
Alabama hits the road for its last pair of conference matches at Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m., followed by taking on Auburn away on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 1 p.m.