Heading into Sunday’s contest against Texas A&M, Auburn soccer knows both sides of an SEC match early into its conference schedule.
The Tigers know the high of victory, with a 3-0 shutout of Georgia in its conference-opener on Sept. 17. They also know the gut-wrenching feeling of defeat, suffering a double overtime loss to Tennessee on Thursday, Sept. 23.
That being said, a match against Texas A&M will give Auburn the opportunity to get back in the win column, on its home turf, before it goes on the road for the next two games.
But looking at the quality of the opponents Auburn has not just lost to, but also beat, this team is one to look out for in SEC play.
For starters, the Tigers had an early-season victory against a then-ranked No. 12 BYU team. Then after winning a road game against Troy, Auburn went on a stretch where it went largely unchallenged.
Over the next three games, facing UAB, Chattanooga and Alabama A&M, the Tigers outscored their opponents 12-1. Auburn hasn’t had a team dominate its opponents over a stretch like that since the 2018 season, which was also the last time the Tigers made the NCAA tournament.
There’s something about this team, though, that seems special.
The team holds the Auburn record for most consecutive wins, 11 straight dating back to last spring, before No. 1 Florida State ended that streak. Even in the one-goal loss to the Seminoles, head coach Karen Hoppa believes a statement about her team was made.
“[Auburn] played with the number one team in the country and I think we showed we deserve to be a top-10 team,” Hoppa said following the loss.
The Tigers bounced back with their shutout win over Georgia, but beating Georgia isn’t anything new. They haven’t lost to the Bulldogs since 2015. And while the two schools have not played every year since 2015, there was a notable takeaway from the game.
The 3-0 victory was the largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent since Sept. 14, 2018, another 3-0 win but this time over Mississippi State.
There’s a chance with the eight remaining games on Auburn’s schedule to considerably boost its resume to the selection committee. After several believed the Tigers were snubbed from a bid last spring, the team has certainly made its case so far into this season.
Auburn faces South Carolina and Mississippi State on the road following its home contest with Texas A&M on Sunday.
Following the game against the Aggies, the team travels back to the Auburn Soccer Complex to finish out its home games, a three-game stretch against LSU, Florida and Arkansas.
Auburn hasn’t faced Florida since 2019 and has not truly lost to LSU in over a decade, although the two schools have tied on multiple occasions since then.
Against Arkansas, however, it’s a different story. The Tigers are 0-6 against the Razorbacks in their previous six matchups.
The schedule concludes on the road with road matches against Ole Miss and in-state rival Alabama.
In non-conference play this season, Auburn fared well, posting its best record outside of SEC play since 2018. And with the team looking competitive in both losses it suffered, that were a few mistakes away from being potential Auburn wins, there’s reason to believe this team has potential to stir up some trouble for opposing teams in the NCAA tournament.