Oct. 14, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team surrendered a sixth-minute goal before going on to out-shoot Kentucky by a count of 21-8 Sunday, but could never tie things up in suffering a slim 1-0 loss to the Wildcats on Senior Day Sunday afternoon in Athens.
The Bulldogs finished with 20-plus shots for the second time this weekend but again could not find the back of the net as Georgia falls to 6-9-2 (2-6-2) heading into three road games to close the regular season slate.
"Another tough one," said head coach Steve Holeman. "I'll tell you what, I feel bad for our team, for our seniors. It's fair to say we played well enough today to win, and deserved better than a 1-0 loss. We had 10 shots on goal. We played with incredible effort and I'm just so proud of them. There were so many times this season where this team could've hung up their boots, but in the midst of the most extreme adversity I've been a part of in my 19 years of coaching, this group has continued to come out and make good teams look average. We were phenomenal today and just didn't get a result. This team deserves better."
The Wildcats struck just 5:55 into the contest as forward Arin Gilliland just barely managed to stay onside as she took a pass from Caitlin Landis at her feet, and fired it past keeper Ashley Baker into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 just shy of six minutes into the game. It was the fifth goal of the season for Gilliland, with the assist going to Landis on what would prove to be the game-winner.
After the Kentucky goal, Georgia stepped it into gear and controlled the run of play for much of the first half, entering the locker room up 9-2 in shots as UK managed just one other look the entire first frame. Georgia's biggest chance in the opening period came with 19 minutes to go as Meghan Gibbons had a breakaway in the middle, with her shot just barely poked over the crossbar by the goalkeeper Kayla King for a corner.
Approaching the end of the half, midfielder Nicole Locandro took a great pass inside from Gibbons, but her shot was blocked by the defense.
The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off in the second half as they continued to search for the tying goal coming from all personnel. With five elapsed in the second Georgia had two shots by Susannah Dennis go for naught, as Dennis' first look hit off a Kentucky player and bounced back to the senior, whose second-chance opportunity went just wide.
Moments later freshman Andie Fontanetta flicked a pass up to Locandro, whose open look in front was flicked over the goal by King. Tori Cooper's header off a Fontanetta corner kick on the play was saved with 39 minutes on the clock and Georgia still down a goal.
The second half went on much the same, with the Bulldogs keeping Kentucky from adding an insurance goal and continuing to earn chances at the tie. Heading up under two minutes to go in the second, Gibbons had a cross from the left sent over to Fontanetta on the right post, but the rookie's diving attempt was just a step behind the ball.
With under a minute to go the home side was still in business as Gibbons had a header inside get stopped, and defender Emma Sonnett's long-range shot from her spot back on defense with time winding down sailed wide right as UK held on despite the Bulldog blitz.
Georgia ended up 21-8 in shots with 10 of those looks going on frame, with 10 saves credited to King in collecting the shutout. Baker made two stops for Georgia. The Bulldogs saw four shots from Cooper on the day, and three each from Gibbons, Locandro, and Dennis.
This weekend marked the Bulldogs final homestand of 2012 as the foursome of Baker, Jenna Buckley, Dennis, and Rebekah Perry were honored in a pre-game ceremony as the group is now 45-28-9 in their four years at UGA.
Georgia is on the road for the final three contests of the regular season, next traveling to Starkville, Miss., to meet Mississippi State on Friday night before heading to College Station, Texas, for their first-ever meeting with conference newcomer Texas A&M on Sunday. Both games will feature live audio coverage as well as the live blog on Georgiadogs.com.