Sept. 4, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. --- A goal in the 18th minute paired with an insurance tally late in the second half gave the Georgia soccer team a 2-0 victory over Iowa State Sunday afternoon in the Bulldogs' final game of the Minnesota Gold Classic at the University of Minnesota's ELR Stadium in Minneapolis.
The win capped a successful weekend for the Bulldogs, who defeated the host Golden Gophers Friday night to pull back over .500 on the season at 3-2. Meanwhile, Iowa State falls to 3-2-1 on the year after entering the Gold Classic undefeated and out to the best start in program history.
"What a fantastic weekend," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Looking at this weekend, obviously the goal is to come in and get to wins. Easier said than done. These were two great teams and two big wins for us. It was a gutsy performance. Today wasn't the greatest game, but sometimes on Sundays you have to find a way to win and we did that. We grinded it out. It wasn't pretty, but we got the result."
For the fourth time in five games this season, Georgia scored first, putting in a follow-up off a corner kick to set the tone for the day. The ball trickled from the right to the left off the set piece, where Susannah Dennis settled and fed it perfectly to a charging Bailey Powell - who rocketed it past the keeper approaching the six to make it 1-0 just over 17 minutes into the game. It was the first goal of the season for Powell, who was up top from her spot on defense for the corner kick.
With about 17 minutes left in the first half Meghan Gibbons found herself free in front and fired one into the bottom corner, but the sophomore was whistled offsides as Georgia just missed going up two goals in the first half.
Moments later, Carli Shultis put together a great run up the left side and fed one to Gibbons in front, but the shot was pulled in by the keeper.
With under six to go in the opener, Iowa State fired one at the goal from right in front, but keeper Ashley Baker leapt and punched it over the crossbar in one of her most brilliant saves of 2011 to preserve the first-half shutout as the Cyclones flipped it into another gear to threaten towards the end of the first. But time would expire on the first 45:00 with Georgia still owning that 1-0 lead, shots going 7-4 in favor of the Bulldogs with Baker claiming two saves.
ISU came out with a couple chances to start the second half, but Baker pulled in two early saves to avoid trouble. The Cyclones then had a corner kick opportunity with 35:00 on the clock, but the ensuing header went just wide left.
With under 20 minutes left, the Cyclones drew a foul five yards outside the box but the free kick bounced off the wall and trickled to the far side touch line. Iowa State worked it back in and the second-effort shot was pulled in by Baker from close range as the keeper continued to do her part.
Georgia picked things back up offensively toward the final third of the second half, with Jenna Owens - making her first career start - firing a shot in from the right that was roped in before Dennis unleashed on a rocket from the middle that sailed high and the Bulldogs continuing to pressure. With under 10 to go, Rebekah Perry made a nice run on the right side where Newfield found her, and the defender's cross was headed on by Owens but handled by Amanda Swanson in goal.
Georgia finally took advantage of the late opportunities with 8:26 on the clock when Ashley Miller fought for a loose ball just in front of Swanson. It bounced up to Miller's foot with the keeper beat out, and the senior served it in for the 2-0 lead and the timely insurance goal, also her first of the year.
With the win the Bulldogs move to 1-1 all-time vs. Iowa State, as the Cyclones entered today having won the only meeting between the programs back in 2000. Georgia is now in need of just six more wins to reach No. 200 all-time. Georgia and Iowa State each took 10 shots in the contest while Baker ended with five saves.
"I think we didn't start off the way we wanted to this season, so this was a good weekend to get back on track," Powell said. "Most of the time [on corner kicks] I try to stay in there as long as possible until the ball is really cleared out, and Sooz played an awesome ball. I was just on the end of it."
The Bulldogs will await the conclusion of today's second game between Minnesota and Wisconsin-Milwaukee to learn if they win the tournament title. UWM defeated Iowa State Friday, so a win would tie the Panthers with the Bulldogs with six points apiece. The tiebreaker would be goal differential, then most goals for, since the teams did not meet head-to-head.
Minnesota will also release an All-Tournament Team later today.
The Bulldogs return home to welcome a pair of in-state foes to the UGA Soccer Stadium, first taking on Mercer on Fri., Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. followed by Georgia State on Sun., Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Both contests will feature live video coverage on Georgiadogs.com.