No. 19 Auburn wraps up regular season at Alabama

AUBURN, Ala. – No. 19 Auburn (11-4-1, 5-3-1 SEC) wraps up the regular season and fights for a bye in the SEC Tournament with a rivalry matchup at Alabama (9-8-1, 4-4-1 SEC) Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.
“You love playing your biggest rival at the end of the year,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “There’s so much on the line. You’re playing, in my opinion, in the biggest rivalry in college athletics. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s a great way to end our regular season. We know it’s going to be a really tough contest, but we’re going to be hungry.”
The game will be available for streaming on SEC Network+.
Thursday marks the 31st meeting in the rivalry series between Auburn and Alabama.
The Tigers are 19-9-2 all-time against the Crimson Tide, including 9-5-1 in Tuscaloosa, and have won 17 of the last 22 meetings in the series.
Auburn looks to reclaim the Iron Bowl of Soccer trophy after falling at home to the Crimson Tide, 1-0, on Nov. 6, 2020. The team previously held the trophy from 2012-19.
The Tigers are 17-5-2 in 24 games since the start of last spring and have outscored opponents 50-18 during the stretch.
Fifth-year defender Alyssa Malonson made her 93rd straight start last Sunday and is now the program record holder in games played, games started and consecutive games started.
Sophomore Anna Haddock ranks top five in the SEC in goals (nine) and points (25) and would enter the top 10 in single-season history with her next goal and two points.
Haddock along with Marissa Arias (seven) and Sydney Richards (six) have accounted for 22 of the team’s 34 goals this season (65 percent), including 14 of the last 16. 
The Tigers have clinched trip to Orange Beach and a berth in the SEC Tournament for the 26th time in program history, including the 21st straight season.
The team will clinch a top-six seed and a first-round by with a win or draw Thursday, marking the highest finish in conference play since 2016.
Auburn is 3-2-1 on the road this season, and the two losses and one tie have come against ranked opponents.
Richards scored the go-ahead goal at Ole Miss with a header off a service from Olivia Candelino in the 47th minute last Sunday.
The junior forward has tallied career bests with six goals and 13 points this season.
Four of her six goals have come in the last seven games, and she is tied for second on the team and tied for third in the league in goals in SEC play.
Alabama enters the regulars season finale with a 9-8-1 overall record and 4-4-1 mark in SEC play.
The Crimson Tide are 9-2-0 at home this season, including 4-0-0 against league opponents.
The team is led in scoring by graduate forward Ashlynn Serepca and sophomore midfielder Kate Henderson, who have tallied five goals apiece.
Graduate goalkeeper McKinley Crone has led the way in net, playing in all 18 games and making 16 starts.
Auburn will travel to Orange Beach for the SEC Tournament next week. The team’s opponent will be determined based on the results throughout the league Thursday.

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