The following is from a press release from Auburn Athletics.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Auburn soccer responded from an early deficit and defeated Samford, 2-1, in the season opener in Birmingham, Alabama, Thursday night.
After conceding a goal in the opening three minutes of the contest, Auburn scored two unanswered goals to complete the come-from-behind win.
“Opening night, you always want to start with a win,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “Going down early, I’m really proud of the resilience of our group. It’s hard to come from behind on the road against a high-quality team like Samford. I’m proud of their ability to fight back.”
Alyssa Malonson got the Tigers on the scoreboard and evened the match with a goal in the late stages of the first half, and Anna Haddock scored the game-winner in the 70th minute. M.E. Craven and Marissa Arias were credited with assists on the goals.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment for quite a while, so we were really excited for this one,” Haddock said. “This is the first of many, and it’s a great start to a great year for us.”
Auburn outshot Samford, 10-7, in the contest and put seven shots on goal compared to the Bulldogs’ five. The Tigers also won seven corner kicks to Samford’s four.
Samford started the scoring in the contest as a scrum inside the box resulted in a goal into the lower right corner of the net off the foot of Mary Raymond.
However, after Maddie Prohaska made a pair of diving saves off a couple of header attempts, Auburn controlled much of the possession for the remainder of the first half.
The possession paid off when Malonson scored the equalizer in the 38th minute. Craven served a free-kick from near midfield, and the fifth-year senior found her way behind the Samford backline, heading a bouncing ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
“They caught us a little off-balance, but we came right back,” Malonson said. “This really just shows how much we have to be turned on during the big-five moments.”
“Getting that goal to make it a tie game going into half was massive for us,” Hoppa added. “We knew it was going to come down to a 45-minute game, and we won that second 45. I’m proud of the team’s effort.”
It was a battle between the boxes to start the second half as each team managed one shot in the first 20 minutes coming out of halftime.
The pressure picked up in the next 10 minutes, and Haddock delivered the game-winner with a right-footed strike from the top of the box. Arias laid the pass off to Haddock, who found herself between three converging defenders but was able to fire off the shot far post and into the left side netting.
Prohaska and the Auburn defense held Samford in check following the opening goal, and the sophomore goalkeeper ultimately totaled four saves in the contest.
Sixteen Tigers saw action in the contest, including three who made their official Auburn debuts.
Auburn welcomes No. 12 BYU to the Plains for the team’s home opener Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Auburn Soccer Complex.