M.E. Craven header

Senior defender M.E. Craven goes for a header against UAB on Sept. 2, 2021

The Tigers are off to a hot start this season, posting a record of 8-2 and sitting at No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches rankings.

This is the sixth week in a row that Auburn has been ranked in the top 15 of the United Soccer Coaches poll.

After going 1-1 in exhibition games against Memphis and Mercer and defeating Samford in the season-opener, coach Karen Hoppa and her team began the home slate against then-No. 15 ranked BYU. Auburn defeated the Cougars 2-1, and continued to win its first six games of the season. The six consecutive wins to start the year is tied for the best start in program history.

"We were really excited coming into the game, and one of our big points of emphasis was to have fun and play our game because we know we can compete with people at this level," senior captain M.E. Craven said after beating BYU. "That's what we did, and we came away with the win."

Their first loss came against No. 1 Florida State, a 2-1 setback where the teams went head-to-head in the second half. The Seminoles started off hot, taking a two-nil lead into the half. In the 55th minute, midfielder Anna Haddock scored to cut the deficit to one. Despite the Tigers controlling possession for a majority of the second half, they weren’t able to score again, giving the team their first loss of the year.

"We're disappointed in the result, but I'm really proud of my team," said Hoppa after the game against Florida State. "We had chances to beat the number one team in the country.

Following the loss to Florida State, Hoppa and the Tigers won two of three games, their one loss being at then-No. 17 Tennessee in a 2-1 double overtime match. The Tigers didn’t score until the 69th minute and the Volunteers tied it up in the 86th minute. The Volunteers scored the game-winning goal just 11 seconds into the second overtime period.

"Credit to Tennessee," Hoppa said after the loss to Tennessee. "They played fantastic tonight. We just need to do a better job of game management late in the game, but it was a really hard-fought battle, and I thought our team got better tonight."

The Tigers were able to bounce back against Texas A&M on Sunday, giving them their 8-2 record on the year. 

"I'm really pleased with our bounce-back performance," Hoppa said after defeating the Aggies on Sunday. "Today, we rebounded and we played much better soccer. It was a fair result against a really good Texas A&M team. They're defending co-champions, and I thought our team was outstanding."

Through 10 games, Auburn is outscoring its opponents 26-8 and is tied with four other teams for the second-best record in the SEC. Haddock leads the team in scoring with eight goals, followed by Marissa Arias with four and Sydney Richards and Carly Thatcher tied at three each. 

Several Tigers have been honored by both Top Drawer Soccer and the SEC. Haddock earned a role on the Top Drawer Soccer team of the week after the SEC opener win against Georgia. Alyssa Malonson and Thatcher have also earned honorable mentions from the Top Drawer Soccer team of the week. Thatcher earned an SEC Freshman of the Week nod and Haddock earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week.

Now, the team is looking forward to taking on the remainder of conference play before the SEC tournament begins on Halloween. 

The Tigers have seven games left in the regular season, starting with a matchup with South Carolina this Friday at 6 p.m. in Columbia.

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