Oct. 14, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- The Georgia soccer team matched its win total from 2010 with a 2-0 victory over Vanderbilt Friday night at the Vanderbilt Soccer Stadium in Nashville. The win pushed Georgia to 11-4 (5-2) and was the Bulldogs' third straight positive result.
The Bulldogs have now scored nine unanswered goals dating back to the 4-3 comeback vs. Mississippi State a week ago today.
"This is a big win for us," said head coach Steve Holeman. "We came into this came knowing it was going to be a tough match and to come out with a 2-0 win, we feel pretty good about it. We played incredibly well in the first half, and credit Vanderbilt - they came after us in the second half. It wasn't a comfortable 2-0 lead, but our defense was exceptional tonight and deserved the shutout. They kept us in the game."
Georgia collected the win with goals from the SEC Offensive Player of the Week Alexa Newfield and Meghan Gibbons in the first half, while the Bulldog defense rose to the occasion in collecting the blank sheet along with keeper Ashley Baker.
Newfield's goal came first with 16:33 left in the first half, as the forward - who moved into sole possession of the SEC lead in goals tonight, with 12 - carried the ball upfield and pulled the trigger 30 yards out despite being marked by four defenders, and placed her shot perfectly underneath the crossbar for the 1-0 lead. On the play, Newfield moves into a tie for sixth place all-time for goals in a season, while her 31 points are tied for fifth in a season at UGA. The score would amount to Newfield's sixth game-winning goal of 2011.
Gibbons then put away the insurance goal just 3:08 before the break, taking a pass from freshman Madison Meyers and putting it past the keeper at the far post to make it 2-0 heading into halftime. Meyers' assist was her first career point, and Georgia now has 16 players with at least one this season.
Georgia had its chances to go ahead by a bigger margin, most coming late in the second half. Bailey Powell stepped up for two set piece opportunities deep in Vanderbilt territory, with one shot going high with 14 minutes left in the second. At the 11-minute mark, Jenna Owens sent a hard cross over to an awaiting Meyers, who got her head on it but the keeper barely came up with the diving stop to keep the score 2-0.
Moments later, Susannah Dennis rocketed a left-footed shot at the upper 90, but the laser sailed just barely wide left. Just after that, freshman Tori Cooper settled in the middle past the 18 and fired one that went just wide right on the ground.
The Georgia defense did its job in suffocating Vanderbilt on its chances to keep the Commodores off the scoreboard, while Baker was barely tested but stopped all three shots sent her way.
Georgia fired 13 shots to Vanderbilt's five on the night, leading 5-0 in corner kicks - the first time since 2009 vs. Florida in which the Bulldogs didn't allow a corner to an SEC opponent. The Bulldogs are 10-9 vs. Vanderbilt all-time and have won the last five meetings.
Georgia will next head to Lexington, Ky., for this Sunday's game at Kentucky, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. in front of a live ESPNU national audience. As usual, Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage. Kentucky defeated Tennessee by a 1-0 score tonight in double overtime. The Bulldogs continue to keep pace in the wide-open SEC race with 15 points behind only Florida in the East.