Aug. 27, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. --- A trio of rookies found their way onto the scoresheet to lead the Georgia soccer team to a 3-0 decision over Utah in the opening game of the Nike Invitational Friday evening. The win gave first-year head coach Steve Holeman the first of his Bulldog tenure in front of 1,633 at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
Freshman Nicole Locandro registered the first Georgia goal of the season, assisted by classmate Carli Shultis, while Alexa Newfield found the scoring column later. Sophomore Susannah Dennis tallied the third Bulldog goal as Georgia improved to an even 1-1 on the year. The visiting Utes dropped to 0-3 with tonight's loss.
Four freshmen earned starting nods for the home team.
Although Georgia dominated the run of play for the opening 45 minutes, the teams battled to a scoreless first half with Georgia putting up its third straight goose-egg to kick off the 2010 campaign. But the floodgates opened quickly in the second, and with just under five minutes gone by in the second frame Shultis sent a cross in from the right and Locandro met it with a volley past the keeper for her first career goal and Georgia's first of the season to go up 1-0. Ashley Miller started the play with a seam pass in to Shultis.
"In the first half we were serving a lot of balls into their center backs, who were winning everything in the air," Holeman said. "[At halftime] we talked about doing the same thing in terms of isolating our flank players. We wanted lower-driven serves into the box and wanted to organize our runs and be a little hungrier in the box. In the second half that's what we did, our runs were better and we had more players up in the box and that was key."
It remained there at 1-0 until the 77th minute when Locandro found Newfield waiting in the middle and the freshman tapped it past Utah's Hannah Turpen for the second Bulldog goal.
Just 46 seconds later, Newfield fired a cross from the side that found Dennis waiting in the center of the box. The sophomore rocketed it past the keeper for the third goal and the second in under a minute of play, putting the Bulldogs up 3-0.
Utah had few real chances to find the scoreboard, ending with 12 shots though just five of them found the frame to test Georgia keeper Ashley Baker. Making just her second career start and playing all 90 minutes for the second game in a row, Baker logged the shutout while pulling in five saves.
At game's end, Georgia held the edge in the shot column by a count of 20-12, firing 20 or more shots for the second straight outing after taking 21 against Duke in the opener. Turpen ended with seven saves for Utah.
Dennis led Georgia with five shots coming off the bench, while Locandro, Newfield, and Madeline Barker each had three. The Bulldogs also led the way in corners, taking seven to the Utes' three.
The 2010 season is the third in a row in which Georgia is hosting the Nike Invitational on campus. It will be a quick turnaround for the Bulldogs as they return to finish out the tournament on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Kansas. Utah will remain in town to take on UNC Greensboro in neutral-site action here Sunday at 11 a.m.
Live audio will be available for the Georgia game while live stats can be accessed for both on www.Georgiadogs.com. The Jayhawks opened their season Friday night, taking on Eastern Kentucky at home in Lawrence before making the trip to Athens.