Oct. 16, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Sophomore Alexa Newfield put away the game-winner with two and a half minutes left to lift the Georgia soccer team to a 2-1 win over Kentucky Sunday afternoon at the UK Soccer Complex in Lexington, capping an SEC road sweep for the Bulldogs that pushed Georgia into a four-way tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference with three games to play.
The Bulldogs improve to 12-4 (6-2) to sit atop the standings alongside LSU, South Carolina, and Florida - which was upset today by Mississippi State, 1-0. Kentucky falls to 11-5 with the loss and to an even .500 at 4-4 in SEC play. Today was the Bulldogs' fourth straight victory.
Georgia was again propelled by Newfield, who assisted Georgia's first goal that made it 1-0 before finding the back of the net herself with her seventh game-winning goal of the year.
"This was huge today," Newfield said. "Playing on the road in the SEC is so hard. Everything is falling into place. It's great - you can't ask for much more."
"What a great weekend for us," added head coach Steve Holeman. "Coming on the road in the SEC is not easy. We say that all the time, especially on a Sunday. This was a gutsy performance by our team and we're proud of them."
Wind was a big factor in the game as it whipped at upwards of 25 miles-per-hour on the afternoon, with each team getting to play with the wind at its back for one half. Georgia had that luxury in the first half, and used it to its advantage in breaking through for the 1-0 lead just 7:04 into the game.
Newfield started the play when she fed Jenna Owens, who then pulled the ball across her body to her right foot and fired it past a diving Kayla Price to give Georgia the early lead. It was the Bulldogs' 10th consecutive score without allowing one during that span over the last four games, while Georgia has now scored first in 11 of 16 games in 2011.
The same play nearly unfolded halfway through the first when Newfield again found Owens in front, but the freshman's shot went wide right. Georgia continued to dominate the first half action using the wind, but ended the first frame up by just the one goal despite firing eight shots to Kentucky's three - none of which were on target.
Kentucky then had the advantage of playing with the wind after halftime and it made a difference, as the Wildcats turned the tables to dominate after the break. UK had a great chance with under 37 minutes on the clock when Arin Gilliland sent a cross over to Caitlin Landis, but the forward's header went wide. Moments later, Kentucky had a corner kick chance and the service made its way all the way across the goal mouth, but no white shirts were there to put it in.
One of Georgia's first chances of the half saw Madeline Barker take it herself up the middle, but fired wide and Price went over to corral it.
Kentucky would continue to keep the second-half pressure on, and finally found the equalizer when the Wildcats were awarded a corner that wasn't cleared. After Ashley Baker punched out the first chance, Kacie Kumar sent it back inside where Gilliland headed it home to knot it at 1-1 with 14:04 to go in regulation.
But with 2:30 left, Newfield started and finished the game-winning play all by herself, gaining control in the midfield and using the help of Torri Allen, who drew her defender out of Newfield's way to open up the middle. The Atlanta native beat the defenders in front of her and fired it past Price in the 1-v-1 situation to put Georgia up 2-1 with time running out on the Wildcats.
The Georgia defense withstood a late Kentucky opportunity and held on for the road victory over UK - which came in with the 14th-best RPI in the nation and had only lost one other game at home this season.
Newfield's 13 goals move her into a tie for fourth in Georgia history in a single season, while her 21 career goals are tied for seventh all-time. She is need of 12 more shots to tie her own record for most shots in a single season (87).
The Bulldogs now find themselves in the four-way tie for first place with three regular-season games remaining. Georgia will remain on the road for its yearly Thursday night game, traveling to take on Auburn on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. ET. Live audio and the live blog will be available on Georgiadogs.com. The Bulldogs then round out the regular-season slate with two at home, hosting Alabama on Sunday, Oct. 23 and Tennessee in the finale the following Friday night.