Sept. 26, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 17 Georgia soccer team battled Arkansas and some heavy rains in a 0-0 tie with the visiting Razorbacks Sunday afternoon at the UGA Soccer Stadium, moving to 6-2-2 on the year while the Razorbacks are now 3-5-2.
The teams battled through 110 minutes of scoreless play, but after a lightning delay late in the second half the game lasted a total of three and a half hours in nearly unplayable field conditions.
Today marked Georgia's first overtime game at home since the 2008 season, incidentally also against Arkansas. Today's game was the Razorbacks' fifth overtime contest in their last five outings and was Georgia's fourth of the season.
"You would swing for the ball and it would just stop," said sophomore midfielder Laura Eddy. "It was exhausting. You were just weighed down. We tried drying out at halftime but just spent the day running through puddles and carrying extra weight. Overall though everyone did great and we were able to change our style like we had to. We gave it our all."
The Bulldogs played to a scoreless first half for the fifth time this season despite taking 13 shots and allowing the Razorbacks only one.
Georgia took three early shots that all went for naught, including a Kelli Corless opportunity as the senior defender took advantage of wide open spaces and carried it upfield before firing a shot high over the head of Britni Williams in goal.
With time hovering over 34 minutes to go in the first, the Bulldogs had a 10-second span of three shots all stay out of the goal. Alexa Newfield worked for an open shot from the middle that caromed off the upper right corner. The rebound found its way to the foot of Susannah Dennis, who fired a one-timer in but that one hit the bottom left post. Ashley Miller took the third straight shot but that one sailed wide as Georgia was unable to take the lead.
Through the first 13 minutes the Bulldogs had eight shots and had yet to allow one as they dominated the run of the play.
With under 10 to go in the opener, Georgia was awarded a set piece opportunity outside the box, but Corless' shot went high.
The first Arkansas shot didn't come until 2:56 on the clock in the first, a long-ranger from the right that Baker was able to come down with, and it stayed 0-0 as the teams headed in the locker rooms to dry off and regroup for the second 45:00.
At the end of the first, the stat sheet read 13-1 in the shots column, with Williams making three stops and Baker forced to make just the one. Georgia had two corners and allowed none.
Freshman Meghan Gibbons was called for two offsides early in the second half as the rookie - making her first start of the year - looked aggressive on the offensive end.
With the clock showing 34:16, the Razorbacks saw their best chance yet when forward Ally Atkins sent a close-range shot from inside the box at Baker but the sophomore poked it over the goal to set up Arkansas' first corner of the afternoon, that Georgia was able to handle with no harm done.
As the rains continued to fall in Athens, the field grew increasingly saturated and the ball would deaden in the grass as players were forced to send high clears upfield to try to get anything going.
With 23:40 on the clock in the second period, play was suspended due to lightning in the area and the teams waited it out for a total of 1:18 before play could resume.
The teams traded chances for the remainder of regulation but couldn't get anything to go as it was still 0-0 after 90:00, the shots 23-5 in favor of the Bulldogs at that point.
The first extra period ended uneventfully before Georgia really turned up the heat in the second OT. Awarded a free kick right outside the box on the left side, Newfield fired one in that was on the mark but blocked by the defense and sent out of danger. Dennis had some chances late that were corralled by the keeper, and senior Traci Dreesen sent a cannon in from 40 yards out that forced Williams to dive to her left but she was able to stop it with under four to play.
With 2:10 left, freshman Carli Shultis was open in front but sent it wide. The clock wound down with neither team having been able to find the go-ahead on the day, despite the shots reading a season-high 27 for the Bulldogs to just six for the Hogs.
"It was a crazy game, that's soccer," said head coach Steve Holeman. "We put up a dominating performance in the first half, had control and did everything but score goals. Had it not rained I think you would've saw more of that in the second half, but we had to adjust our style of play. The girls did well with it. You credit Arkansas, they defended well and came up with some big saves that kept us out of the net."
The Bulldogs now stand at 1-0-1 in SEC play, and will remain at home to close out their five-game homestand next weekend as they host Kentucky and Vanderbilt Friday and Sunday.