Aug 30, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team posted its highest scoring output of the young season Friday night, earning a 3-0 win over in-state rival Mercer in the home opener at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
The Bulldogs got goals from freshmen Marion Crowder and Rachel Garcia and senior Nicole Locandro while posting their second consecutive shutout in front of a near-capacity crowd of 1,715. Georgia tonight improved to 2-1 on the season while Mercer falls to 1-1-1.
"This feels like a big improvement [from last weekend]," said head coach Steve Holeman, now just two wins shy of 200 for his career. "We made a lot of progress this week. The last two times vs. Mercer it took until overtime to beat them, and today we saw some separation. I like that we defended well - we didn't do that well last weekend. As a team the midfield defending was fantastic, our backs kept it compact, and the forwards pressed well, and we did a good job of limiting Mercer's opportunities."
Georgia had several early chances to get on the board, but first broke through in the 27th minute as the freshman Crowder took the ball on her own into traffic before finding an open shot around the 18-yard box and hammered it home to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead on her first career score.
The Bulldogs were outshooting Mercer by a count of 9-3 at the break, and kept the Bears off the scoreboard for the first 45:00 in part due to a defensive save for senior All-SEC defender Torri Allen, who cleared a ball off the line with under a minute to go before the break.
After narrowly missing the back of the net on back to back corner kick chances, Georgia got its second goal of the night via a penalty kick as freshman Gabby Seiler was brought down inside, and the senior Locandro did not miss as she stepped in to take it, making it a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute.
The lead increased to 3-0 when senior attacker Madeline Barker placed a perfect corner kick service inside, and the rookie Garcia made it count, heading it past the keeper for the third and final score of the night for the home team in the 69th minute. Barker was credited with the assist on the play.
Mercer's keeper Maggie Cropp used a huge point-blank save on Georgia forward Andie Fontanetta with four minutes to play to save it from becoming 4-0, but the Bulldogs came away with the 3-0 win and out-shot the Bears 20-3 at night's end. Georgia took 10 corner kicks to Mercer's three.
In Georgia's last two outings, it has held opponents to a combined four shots, limiting Houston to just one and Mercer to three. Tonight the Bulldogs improved to 10-0-1 all-time against the Bears and 13-4-2 all-time in home openers.
Next up the Bulldogs will face off against Furman here on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., with Georgiadogs.com to offer live video coverage beginning just before kickoff. Admission is free.