Oct. 8, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. - Despite firing a season-high 29 shots, the No. 18 Georgia soccer team was forced to settle for a 0-0 tie to Ole Miss Friday in the SEC road opener in Oxford, Miss. The game was the homecoming for head coach Steve Holeman as well as assistant coach Dan Blank. Holeman coached the Rebels for 15 years prior to coming to Georgia.
The Bulldogs are now 7-2-4 on the season and remain unbeaten in conference play at 2-0-3. Tonight was the sixth overtime game of the year and the fourth to end undecided for Georgia.
Ole Miss keeper Sarah Story set a school record with her 17 saves on the night. The Rebels are now 5-7-2 (1-3-1).
"Credit Ole Miss and credit Sarah Story - she made some big-time saves and we hit a lot of posts," Holeman said. "They defended well, played hard, came out and played with everything they had. It was frustrating because we feel like we had control of the game and outshot Ole Miss 15-2 in the first half. Usually when that happens it's just a matter of time and when you have chance after chance, you usually put one in eventually."
The Bulldogs came out firing in the first half on their way to 15 first-half opportunities, marking their highest output in a single period this season. One of the best looks in the first 45:00 came off a Kelli Corless corner kick when the set piece look set up freshman Nicole Locandro for an open shot from the edge of the 18 in front. Locandro sent it through the defense at the frame but Story was able to get a handle on it.
Georgia had a considerable number of shots in the first half that were taken from outside the box and set up second opportunities on rebounds. The Bulldogs entered the intermission with six corners and allowing just one, but nevertheless remained knotted with the Rebels.
Around 11 minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs had a chance in front with a loose ball and Laura Eddy and Meghan Gibbons threatening. The ball squirted back out to Traci Dreesen in the midfield, but the senior's long-range shot got deflected right to Story for the easy stop.
The second half got off to a slower start for Georgia compared to the first but the Bulldogs picked up the intensity late. With 6:30 to go in regulation, freshman winger Alexa Newfield dished to classmate Carli Shultis on the left, but Shultis' shot went wide right. Shultis had another late chance for Georgia but a shot off a Susannah Dennis feed was stopped by Story as well.
The Rebels had one final chance late in the second half but it went high as the teams were headed for extra time.
Georgia did not take a shot through the first 10:00 overtime, but got one quickly in the second OT as Corless fed a great ball inside to Shultis on the right side. The rookie fired a rope at Story, who came up with the point-blank save. With 4:30 on the clock, defender Torri Allen was free and worked her way upfield in open space to set up a Jamie Pollock header chance. The ball caromed out to Newfield but her second effort shot was saved.
Georgia had a scare late in the second extra period as Ole Miss leading scorer Dylan Jordan found herself free in front in the 110th minute and fired one at Ashley Baker, who came up with a game-saving stop in goal for the Bulldogs with under 10 seconds left.
At game's end, Georgia led in shots by a count of 29-12 and took 11 corners to just four for the Rebels. Baker was tested just five times in notching her sixth shutout of the season. Newfield and Shultis led Georgia with five shots apiece.
"We need to be more composed," Shultis said. "We work on finishing all week and we need to show more heart in the box. We need to relax and do what we know we can do. We're too frantic."
"We know we can do it but I think after all these ties we're getting flustered. I think we can fix it now because we're hungrier and we want it even more."
Today's game was Georgia's first on the road in nearly a month as they kick off a five-game road trip after a five-game homestand.
Georgia and Ole Miss are still even in the all-time series at 7-7-2. Tonight was the first ever tie between the squads when playing in Oxford.
The Bulldogs will remain in the Magnolia State for Sunday's match-up with Mississippi State at the MSU Soccer Field in Starkville. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. ET. Follow along with the action as Kevin Copp will be on the call providing live audio. Georgiadogs.com will also offer live statistics and the Soccer Live Blog.