Sept. 28, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team was knotted 1-1 with 11th-ranked Missouri at halftime, but was overcome by a score for the Tigers early in the second frame in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the SEC newcomers at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
The Bulldogs got another goal from junior Meghan Gibbons on the night, her fourth of the season and fourth out of the last five Georgia goals.
The Bulldogs now sit at 5-6-1 on the season and 1-3-1 in SEC play heading into Sunday afternoon's 4 p.m. showdown with SEC West opponent LSU in front of an ESPNU national audience. Missouri tonight moved to 10-1-0 on the year and a perfect 5-0 in their first tour of the conference.
"This was a tough one - another tough one," said head coach Steve Holeman. "We've got to find a way to come out of a halftime without giving up a goal. It's been our Achilles heel the last few games. Missouri is obviously a great team and they found a way to win, and that's what we needed to do. You can make excuses all day and say that we're down, that we're injured, but we need to turn it around and get back at it on Sunday."
Gibbons had a chance at a goal - and Georgia's best of the night so far - with 27:10 to go in the first half when her shot hit off the right post and into the keeper's hands. Just after that - in the 19th minute of action - Missouri came down the other end and got the day's first score from Abi Raymer, her fifth of the season, as she fired it into the left side past Ashley Baker to give her side the 1-0 lead.
In the 36th minute and with nine to go before the break, Gibbons struck, sending a long-range chip shot just under the crossbar and out of reach of the keeper Sauerwein to even things at 1-1. The assist went to freshman Liliana Rios, who headed the ball to Gibbons to set up the score.
With under one minute to go before intermission, junior midfielder Nicole Locando had a chance as she had a long-range shot stopped by Sauerwein and the first-time opponents went into the locker rooms even at 1-1.
But with just under five minutes gone by in the second half, Missouri took another lead, as Alyssa Diggs tallied her fourth of the season as she cut the ball inside and fired it into the bottom right corner past a diving Baker to put Missouri up 2-1.
Georgia then avoided giving up another with a pair of huge plays, as Torri Allen collected a defensive save in front before Baker made a save on Missouri's second shot in the sequence with under 37 on the second-half block.
The Bulldogs then suffered a tough break with 19 minutes to go when the Tigers were called for a handball, but the official determined it was just inches outside the 18 to prevent Georgia from attempting the equalizer from the penalty stripe. On the play, Locandro lifted the ball inside the box but the Tiger defense handled it.
Sauerwein then collected her biggest save of the evening with eight minutes remaining when Jenna Owens shot one from the right side at the far post, but the keeper dove to her right to keep it out the net. And with 3:30 left, Carli Shultis had a good opportunity at a close-range cross broken up inside by Sauerwein as Missouri went on to take the 2-1 win on the road.
The Bulldogs had never faced Missouri before tonight.
Georgia is back in action here Sunday, set to kick off against LSU at 4 p.m. on ESPNU. Georgiadogs.com will also offer live audio coverage.