Sept. 14, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team fired 26 shots and forced Vanderbilt keeper Alexa Levick to make 13 saves, but the Bulldogs failed to find the back of the net in Friday night's 0-0 tie with Vanderbilt in the SEC opener at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
The 26 shots were the second-most of the season and the third time in 2012 the Bulldogs had 20 or more chances, but the game ended scoreless as Georgia moves to 4-3-1 (0-0-1) on the year. Visiting Vanderbilt is now 3-3-2 (0-0-1).
The Bulldogs played in front of a season-high crowd of 2,024 tonight.
"Our focus this week was to be more dangerous in the final third, and we were," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Obviously their keeper had a phenomenal game. We created so many good opportunities and she stoned us a couple times from point-blank, one-vs.-one. We played well but just didn't put the ball in the back of the net."
The Bulldogs had their chances in each period of tonight's game, including 10 shots in each half of regulation. Two of Georgia's best looks at the goal all evening came in the first seven minutes, as Jenna Owens and Madeline Barker each had close-range shots saved by Levick to set the tone for the keeper's night. With under 19 minutes to go in the first, sophomore midfielder Tori Cooper had a good look as Owens dished it up to her in the middle, but Levick again roped in the shot.
Vanderbilt then had perhaps their best chance of the night to that point when Cherrelle Jarrett got a header on a cross and was wide open in the center, but Ashley Baker came up with the stop for Georgia.
Ten minutes into the second half of regulation, Meghan Gibbons had one saved from inside the six-yard box and it rolled over the end line to set up a Bulldog corner kick, but Georgia was unable to finish the set piece. With 30 minutes left, Gibbons was wide open in the middle and carried the ball up field before dumping it off to Owens, whose shot was again corralled by Levick.
The Georgia defense held up its end of the bargain in the second half - allowing just three shots all period, including a stretch of over 35 minutes. The Commodores finally got one off with six minutes to go in the second, but the Ashley Oswald shot went wide and it remained scoreless.
Levick made another great save with five minutes to go in the second half on a header by Gibbons, and Georgia knocked on the door again just two minutes later only to see a Cooper running strike sail high.
Georgia had an opportunity in the first 30 seconds of the first overtime period when Cooper placed a great ball on the foot of Gibbons, who turned and fired from point-blank range, but it was pulled in by Levick. Midfielder Nicole Locandro had a long-range look go just wide with 2:20 to go in the first added period, and with 30 seconds left Dennis' header went wide as she connected with a loose ball in the middle and the teams remained scoreless with 10:00 to go.
Four minutes into the second OT, Cooper was open in front but saw Levick take it away from her in front, and the keeper blocked another chance for Cooper just moments later.
Levick then made her 13th and final save - proving to be the one that would preserve the shutout - on a deep shot for Cooper that bounced away, but no Georgia players were there to tap in the rebound.
The Bulldogs finished up 26-11 in shots despite not finding the back of the net, with Baker needing just two saves down the other end to secure her second blank sheet of the year.
Georgia is now 1-1-1 on the season in overtime games, and 2-1-1 at home. Gibbons led the Georgia effort with six shots, while Cooper had five. The Commodores' leading scorer Cheyna Williams fired three for the visitors.
The Bulldogs tonight moved to 9-8-1 all-time in SEC openers and 10-9-1 vs. Vanderbilt.
Georgia is back at home on Sunday, set to take on SEC West foe Arkansas at 1 p.m. Live video coverage will be available on Georgiadogs.com beginning just before kickoff.