Auburn, AL (WEGL) - Auburn is coming off of a throbbing from Virginia Tech, losing 3-1 in the finale of the Bulldog Classic Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are looking to get back in the win column against the Syracuse Orange, and what better way to do that than to do it in front of the home crowd.
Auburn is 20-4-2 all-time in home openers and 15-3-2 while under Head Coach Karen Hoppa. Junior defender Sarah Houchin was earned Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week honorable mention this week after turning in a two-goal performance, which included her first collegiate goal in the 4-0 win against Maryland earlier in the season.
The Tigers have a dangerous team on the offensive side of the ball with three different position players (Defender, Midfielder and Striker) having already scored this season.
Senior Midfielder Bri Folds was named to the Hermann Trophy Award Watch List which is awarded to the top collegiate soccer player in the nation. She will look to add to her scoring totals, already having two this season.
Excluding the Maryland game, Auburn’s defense has been shaky as they rank 244th in the nation allowing 1.67 goals after three games this season. They will look to improve that number against a Syracuse team that ranks 181st in scoring offense.
Transfer Goalkeeper Kate Hart will look to fill in the shoes of former four-year starter Sarah Le Beau and has shown flashes of excellence; saving 5 shots a game which ranks 2nd in the SEC.
The 1-2-0 start by Auburn will not sit well for a team that returns eight starters. This is the worst starting record by the Tigers since 2013 when they had a 1-2-1 record after the first four games of the season.
KNOW YOUR FOE
The Syracuse Orange are coming off a 2-0 loss to Dartmouth, and like Auburn, will look to get a win of their own and quiet the crowd on the Plains.
This is the second of four straight road games for the Orange and Auburn might be their toughest opponent with head coach Nicky Adams saying, “Auburn is a top team in the SEC that is very fast and explosive. We’ll have to be able to defend as a team really well and then figure out a way to secure the ball and have that type of energy on the attack.”
Syracuse will test Auburn’s defense with shots galore. The Orange are averaging three more shots a game than their opponents with 12.7 a game and 5.6 shots on goal a game and their offense is not the only thing Auburn should be worried about as Syracuse already has two shutouts this season after only three games.
This is the first season coaching Syracuse for Nicky Adams, she previously coached at Rice where she had a record of 87-55-23 and led the Owls to NCAA Tournament berths in 2014 and 2017. She was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year following both seasons.
You can watch the game Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+ and listen on WEGL 91.1.