Bulldogs Fall 2-0 To New Mexico
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team took a 2-0 defeat at the hand of visiting New Mexico on Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium, allowing a goal at the end of each half in its final non-conference outing of the season.
The Bulldogs were unable to find the back of the net for the second straight game as Georgia drops to 4-3 while New Mexico improves to 3-3-1. The Lobos got both goals on the night from senior midfielder Rachel Montoya.
"Our possession was better tonight, but we weren't effective or efficient in the final third," said head coach Steve Holeman. "We need to get better in the penalty box. I thought our defense was solid. We made some improvements from last weekend, but the area we need to continue to get better in is scoring goals."
"Throughout the non-conference season we played some tough teams," Holeman said. "We've played well at times. We need to get better in the final third and be more dangerous. We have some tough matches coming up in the SEC and that's the real stuff. We have some work to do - something has to change."
Georgia had its best chance of the night to that point with under 10 minutes to go in the first half, when sophomore Madison Meyers pulled away from a defender but played the ball just a bit too far in front of her as keeper Kelli Cornell was able to dive on it to get her squad out of trouble.
The Lobos then broke the scoreless tie with under six minutes to go in the first half after Ashley Baker made a save on a shot by Elba Holguin, but the rebound went out to an open Montoya in front and she fired it past Baker to give New Mexico the 1-0 lead. The halftime score would remain 1-0 in favor of the visitors, with Georgia edging the Lobos in shots, 6-5 through the first 45:00.
Georgia found a bit of an offensive rhythm in the second half but was continuing to struggle to find the mark. With 17:53 to go in the second half the Bulldogs had a good chance when Susannah Dennis got her head on a cross, and Meghan Gibbons nearly had a look at the ensuing loose ball before she collided with the goalkeeper and it was cleared away.
Montoya would then strike again to give her side the 2-0 lead, as she stepped in to take a free kick from nearly 35 yards out and placed it just over the fingertips of Baker and in.
With the clock hovering around two minutes to go, sophomore Tori Cooper had a good look after a short dish from Bella Hartley, but her shot went wide. After pulling a defender to add a player up front, the Bulldogs were still unable to get on the board as New Mexico walked away with the 2-0 victory.
Georgia ended with the lead in shots on the night, 12-10, putting just four on frame. Baker came away with four saves for the Bulldogs while Dennis and Carli Shultis each led the way with three shots apiece.
Tonight was the Bulldogs' first meeting against New Mexico in program history, as Georgia is now 3-4 all-time vs. Mountain West Conference opposition.
Georgia is off the remainder of the weekend and will open the SEC schedule a week from tonight, hosting Vanderbilt for a 7 p.m. contest in Athens. Live video will be available on Georgiadogs.com.