Sep 6, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team played nearly 100 minutes of scoreless soccer against Jacksonville before freshman Gabby Seiler picked the perfect time to score her first collegiate goal, firing home the game-winner into the top corner to lift the Bulldogs to the 1-0 overtime win over the Dolphins Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
After a full 90 minutes plus all but 16 seconds of the first overtime period, Seiler did not miss on her shot at the upper 90 - with the assist credited to fellow freshman Marion Crowder, who fed Seiler from the sideline to set up the chance.
"I knew I had been taking on their players and beating them, and I just needed one shot and to finish it," Seiler said. "I didn't even really look at the keeper - I just hit it, and I knew it was going it. I had been hitting the post, hitting other players in the goal in previous games, so this was what I wanted, and I knew it as soon as I hit it."
Tonight's win handed fourth-year UGA head coach Steve Holeman the 200th of his 20-year career. The win was Georgia's fourth in a row as the Bulldogs improve to 4-1 on the season, while it was also their fourth straight shutout. It marks the first time Georgia has shut out four straight opponents since Oct. 3-15, 2010. Goalkeeper Caitlin Woody registered four saves to pick up another blank sheet.
Jacksonville falls to an even 2-2 on the season with the loss.
"Credit this Jacksonville team - they are a fantastic team," Holeman said. "They keep the ball well, they play a great system. I like the way they played within that. We obviously hoped to win that in regulation, but what a great way to win it. From our angle, we could see it bending left to right upper 90 and you knew it was going in. What a fantastic win for this team."
Georgia had a great chance just moments into the game as senior Madeline Barker fired a rocket of a shot just wide left. The Bulldogs had another good look with 15 minutes elapsed when Seiler's flick on to Rachel Garcia saw the rookie's shot saved by JU keeper Sarah Sierra.
Georgia forward Bria Washington had her shot on a 1-v-1 opportunity just sail over the crossbar with three minutes to go before halftime, marking the Bulldogs' last big scoring opportunity of the first frame, and the teams went into the break tied 0-0 despite Georgia's 8-4 lead in the shot column through 45:00.
Coming out of halftime, Garcia saw a ball hit off the outside of her foot and ricochet just wide at the near post after she took a pass from Crowder with four minutes gone by in the second frame. Garcia had another shot go off the crossbar with 38 on the clock, and with 26 minutes to go in regulation Crowder picked the ball out of the air and delivered a one-touch pass to Garcia, whose rocket in to the keeper Sierra was denied.
Despite the Bulldogs finishing the first 90 minutes leading 23-7 in shots, the teams were still locked in the scoreless draw heading to overtime - Georgia's first OT game of the season. The battle waged on, with the Bulldogs and Dolphins still unable to decide it as time wound down.
But that's when Seiler struck, taking the pass from Crowder and stepping past her defender, firing the open look at the upper 90 for the game winner with just 16 seconds to play to lift the Bulldogs to the victory.
In all, Georgia led 26-7 in shots, with Garcia leading the way with seven. Seiler ended with five, including the one that mattered. Corners were even at four apiece.
Georgia tonight improves to 3-0 all-time vs. Jacksonville, while the squad is now 25-0-4 vs. Atlantic Sun opponents.
"I'm just glad I've been around this long doing what I love and coaching soccer," Holeman said of his milestone. "I am excited to get another win for UGA and I appreciate everything the team did. It's a special night for us."
The Bulldogs will now hit the road to take on UNC Greensboro on Sunday at 2 p.m. Live audio coverage and the Georgia Soccer Live Blog will be available just before kickoff on Georgiadogs.com.