Feb. 25, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team started its spring season with a big result, defeating 2011 NCAA semifinalist Florida State by a 1-0 score Saturday afternoon at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
The Bulldogs took down the Seminoles – who reached last season’s Final Four – without the services of starting goalkeeper Ashley Baker and left back Nikki Hill, who are each out of the country playing with their respective national teams. Georgia is also suffering from several injuries, leaving the squad with only two subs at its disposal in the spring opener.
“What a great way to start the spring,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “I thought the girls looked fit and organized. With our limited numbers, we haven’t been able to play full-field this spring at all, so this was our first time out. We did some nice things. We kept the ball well, and I thought the defense looked very good. [Caitlin] Woody did a great job in goal. A lot of players stepped up who needed to, and we played really well today.”
Neither squad managed much offense in the first half, but with just three minutes gone by in the second frame, FSU fired a shot that hit off the crossbar and the redshirt freshman keeper Woody came up with a diving stop to corral the loose ball.
Georgia’s best chance to date came with 26 minutes left when sophomore Meghan Gibbons worked herself free in front and fired one from close range that just barely hit off the back of a defender and out of trouble. Moments later, sophomore Alexa Newfield was open in front and spun to fire one at the goal, but a defender was there to pick it off the end line to keep things scoreless.
But Newfield wasn’t finished, and with 17:32 remaining on the clock in the second half the Bulldogs’ leading scorer in 2011 was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Newfield fired her chance at the left post, evading Florida State’s wall and bouncing into the back of the net to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.
The Seminoles had a chance to tie with under 15 to play when they were awarded a corner kick, but the Bulldogs answered the call, clearing out the cross. FSU had another corner with under five left, but the Georgia defense stepped up when Woody was caught out to preserve the shutout.
Georgia plays its next spring game next Sat., March 3 at 1 p.m. on the road at Clemson.