Sept. 23, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- The Georgia soccer team went into halftime scoreless with Florida, before allowing four tallies after the break in Sunday afternoon's 4-1 loss to the Gators at Pressly Stadium.
Georgia and Florida played to an even 0-0 first 45:00, but the Gators broke through to put in three goals in 14 minutes in the second half to pull away. For the Bulldogs, sophomore Tori Cooper scored her first career goal while freshman Mackin D'Amico had the assist in her first appearance as a Bulldog.
Georgia drops to 5-5-1 (1-2-1) with the loss, while Florida moves to 6-3-1 (3-1-0).
"We had a lot of things stacked against us from the start," said head coach Steve Holeman. "But credit Florida - they were the better team in every aspect. I think we had a chance with some of the things we did, and we felt good going into halftime scoreless. We just ran out of steam and after Florida scorer their first goal, they turned it on."
"Today was an opportunity for some players who don't get a lot of playing time to step in and make a difference," Holeman said. "Mackin D'Amico playing in her first game came in and got an assist. What a great way to start a career. We have four or five girls who walked onto our team and they got to play today - what a great experience. We're going to have to count on them down the road."
In the first half, Georgia had an opportunity as it was awarded a free kick on the right side outside the 18 with 10 minutes elapsed. Nicole Locandro stepped in to take it, and her cross found the head of Cooper - but the shot was wide.
Three minutes later the Gators had their own set piece chance down the other end, but the shot sailed high. With 11:15 to go in the first, senior keeper Ashley Baker made an outstanding diving stop to keep things tied.
The Bulldogs increased their possession toward the end of the first frame, and with 7:30 to go the tandem of Chika Ibiam and Tori Patterson worked in the attack, before a loose ball found its way to Emma Sonnett, but the freshman's shot rocketed high.
Florida had perhaps its best chance of the first half when Caroline Triglia's shot hit the crossbar, and Georgia defender Torri Allen stopped another big Gator chance as she stripped the ball from an open attacker with a minute remaining.
At the break shots went 8-2 in favor of UF, while Baker's three saves - in addition to another strong performance from the back line - preserved the blank sheet through 45:00 for Georgia.
The Gators then broke the scoreless tie when Annie Speese sent a perfectly placed corner kick service into the box and onto the head of Holly King, who headed it home in the 55th minute to give Florida the 1-0 lead.
Georgia had a good opportunity just after that as Ibiam fired a shot that keeper Taylor Burke flicked over the crossbar to set up a Bulldog corner. After the set piece Cooper sent the ball back in from the opposite side but Burke stepped in to break up the chance before Nicole Locandro could get a foot on it for Georgia.
The Gators struck again in the 65th minute, when Florida had it in front and the Bulldogs did not clear it initially. The ball trickled out to Havana Solaun at the edge of the 18, who sent it into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0.
It became 3-0 when Jo Dragotta converted on a penalty kick opportunity after Georgia was called for a handball in the 69th minute. The Gators then put in their fourth of the day with 11:03 to go in the game when Jillian Graff took a pass inside from Brooke Smith and one-timed it past Baker.
Georgia got on the board in the 86th minute when the freshman D'Amico fed one up to Cooper, who fired it into the back of the net for the first score of her career. That cut it to 4-1, which is where it remained.
Baker finished with four saves for Georgia, while Cooper's two shots led the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are back at home next weekend to take on Missouri and LSU.