Aug. 17, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team made sure to kick off the 2012-13 Bulldogs athletic calendar on a high note, defeating UNC Greensboro by a 1-0 score in double overtime Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium. The dramatic game-winner came off the foot of Hermann Trophy Watch List member Alexa Newfield, who hammered home a penalty kick chance following a UNCG handball in the 104th minute.
Georgia starts the season at 1-0 and drops the visiting Spartans to 0-1 on the season, with the Bulldogs improving to 14-2-2 all-time in season openers and winners of six of their last eight home debuts dating back to 2005.
Despite outshooting UNC Greensboro by a count of 27-4 on the night, the Bulldogs couldn't convert during regulation before putting the Spartans away early in the second overtime period. UNCG freshman keeper Jamie Simmons recorded 14 saves on the night to help her team stay in the game despite the lopsided stats - finishing just one off the school record.
"Well, we're relieved," said third-year head coach Steve Holeman. "When [Newfield] stepped up we felt confident, and sure enough she got it done."
"Tonight we wanted to play with a lot of energy and we did that. We could've been better in certain areas. I think our speed of play could've been better. For the opening game of the season you're not quite at your best, but we did some good things well and got the result."
The Bulldogs had the edge in the box score and in the run of play for the duration of the contest, outshooting UNCG 20-3 at the end of 90 minutes with nothing to show for it. The teams then battled throughout the first 10-minute overtime, and with two minutes left in the first extra period Georgia got a good look when Meghan Gibbons took a set piece opportunity that resulted in a header for Nicole Locandro that went just off the mark. Moments later Gibbons sent in a long-range ball that was batted over the goal by Simmons.
Then with 6:27 to go in the second OT, the Spartans were whistled for the handball after a scramble in the box, setting up Newfield's chance at the winner. After going five-for-five from the spot in 2011 and posting a team- and SEC-best seven game-winning goals a season ago, the junior rocketed it past Simmons to give Georgia the home victory.
Georgia had put the pressure on significantly at the end of the second half of regulation, and nearly had the go-ahead goal with 14 seconds left - easily their best chance of the night - when Simmons denied an Andie Fontanetta point-blank header from the six-yard box, ultimately sending the teams to extra time.
Tonight marked the Bulldogs' first overtime game in a season opener since the 2004 season, when Georgia drew 0-0 against Colorado to start the year in Athens.
The night wound up with shots 27-4 in Georgia's favor, with six each credited to Newfield and the freshman Fontanetta in her collegiate debut. Sophomore midfielder Tori Cooper saw four chances. For UNCG, defender Lauren Hein had two of the team's four shots to lead the way. Simmons finished with the 14 saves while Georgia senior netminder Ashley Baker was tested just twice on the night. Georgia also had the edge in corner kicks, 10-3.
Next up the Bulldogs will welcome another SoCon rival to Athens, taking on Furman on Sun., Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. Live video coverage and live scoring will be available at kickoff on Georgiadogs.com.