Sept. 2, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. --- Sophomore Alexa Newfield sent a perfectly placed header past the keeper just a minute into the extra period, leading the Georgia soccer team to a 2-1 overtime victory over Minnesota Friday evening in the Bulldogs' first game of the Minnesota Gold Classic at the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
The win gets the Bulldogs back even at 2-2 on the season while Minnesota falls to 2-3.
The teams played to a scoreless first half and a majority of the second before Georgia got on the board first on a goal for sophomore Meghan Gibbons in the 77th minute - her first of the season. But the host Golden Gophers tied things up seven minutes later, ultimately sending the Bulldogs to their first overtime of 2011.
It was then that Newfield broke the tie and sealed the win 1:17 into OT.
"It's huge for us, especially after the results last weekend," Newfield said. "We needed this more than anything, for points, for morale, and to get the win in overtime is huge to boost everybody's spirits."
The first half went 0-0 largely due to Georgia keeper Ashley Baker's outstanding play in keeping the Bulldogs in it with four first-half saves on nine Golden Gopher shots. Minnesota came out in a 3-5-2 formation, clogging the middle of the field and forcing Georgia to try to play balls long up the field and then adjusting at halftime.
The second half was more evenly matched with the Bulldogs having their share of chances at the goal. The scoreless tie was finally broken up when Gibbons fired a shot that was batted away by keeper Cat Parkhill and back to the foot of the Texas native. She then found herself all alone in front and sent the rebound into the corner to give Georgia the 1-0 lead, as the Bulldogs scored first in a game for the third time this season.
Baker continued to shine in goal, but Minnesota finally found the scoreboard itself at 83:13, as Shari Eckstrom took a pass from Olivia Bagnall following a Gopher corner kick to even it at 1-1.
The Bulldogs nearly went back in front in the final moments as Newfield was just a step late off a cross and the teams were bound for extra time.
There, the freshman Jenna Owens - seeing her first game action of the season after coming back from an injury - wasted no time in setting up Newfield, sending a perfect cross over from the left side right to the head of the 5-foot-5 attacker, who redirected past Parkhill just over a minute into OT for the win.
The Bulldogs played an astounding eight overtimes in 2010, going 2-2-4 in those games.
Tonight was just the second all-time meeting between Georgia and Minnesota, with the Bulldogs now claiming both contests.
The Bulldogs are now in need of just seven more wins to record program victory No. 200.
Baker ended with seven saves on the evening in a strong performance in goal, withstanding 12 Golden Gopher corner kicks and 15 second-half shots.
"We not only got a win, but a win over an incredibly talented program," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Credit them - Minnesota was extremely hard-working and played a fantastic game. No one deserved to lose this game. They put pressure on us and showed a system we've never seen before that took us until halftime to adjust. I thought we looked better in the second half. To walk out of here on the road with a win against a team like Minnesota is a huge credit to our team and their effort."
The Bulldogs will remain in town to take on Iowa State Sun., Sept, 4 at 11:30 a.m. ET in the final game of the Gold Classic. Following the game an All-Tournament Team will be announced. Live audio and the live blog will again be available on Georgiadogs.com.