Oct. 18, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team scored four first-half goals - including two in the first nine minutes - and never looked back, defeating visiting Mississippi State by a 5-0 score Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium. The win pushed UGA to 10-4-1 on the season and 3-3-1 in conference play heading into a big Sunday showdown with Texas A&M in front of a national ESPNU audience.
"We talked before the game about coming out and playing with urgency and being the aggressor, and we did that," said head coach Steve Holeman. "It was fantastic. To get the early goal, and even better, to get a second goal less than two minutes later, I think it took a little energy out of Mississippi State. It was just a great first half for us. We were able to work a lot of players in, which is important on a Friday-Sunday weekend. The level didn't drop when we made those substitutions, and it was nice to have that lead at halftime. This is a great win for us."
Georgia tonight scored five goals in an SEC game for the first time since 2006, and registered five in a game for the second time this season - also doing so in a 5-1 win over the College of Charleston back on Sept. 15. The Bulldogs got two on the night from senior Madeline Barker - who pushed her season tally to six - while freshman Marion Crowder scored her 10th of the season and Cara Smith and Nikki Hill also found the scoring column. It was the first career goal for the redshirt freshman Smith, while Emma Sonnett, Lauren Tanner, and Taylor Donohue all grabbed their first career assists.
With tonight's blank sheet, keeper Caitlin Woody moved into sole possession of first place for shutouts in a single season in UGA history, now sitting with 10 to her name in 2013. Georgia was able to keep MSU leading scorer Elisabeth Sullivan off of the stat sheet, as the forward entered with 12 of the team's 18 goals on the year. Tonight marked only the sixth game this season in which Sullivan has not scored.
Georgia opened the scoring early, as Crowder took a ball from Torri Allen and dribbled her way from the left side to the center, beating the keeper into the bottom corner with 7:03 gone by to make it 1-0. The goal pushed Crowder into double-digits with 10 season scores, as she remains second all-time in goals by a UGA rookie in a single season.
The lead jumped to 2-0 less than two minutes later when Sonnett found Barker with her back to the goal and sandwiched between defenders, but the veteran beat them both as well as the keeper, finding the back of the net less than nine minutes in to double Georgia's advantage over Mississippi State.
In the 33rd minute, Tanner worked hard to keep the ball inside the box for Georgia, then found Smith, who spun and sent it bottom left for the Bulldogs' third of the night, and the lead moved to 4-0 before halftime as Bella Hartley found Nikki Hill open on the left, and the senior defender fired a laser past the keeper less than six minutes before the intermission. At the break, Georgia held the 4-0 advantage on a 13-3 lead in shots.
The Bulldogs added their final tally of the night in the 54th minute, as Donohue found Barker on the wing and the senior finished the chance, firing past the keeper on the ground for her second of the night and sixth of the year. It was the second multiple-goal game of the season for Barker, who also scored twice against Furman during the non-conference slate.
Georgia ended the night leading in shots, 21-7, while Woody came away with four saves in goal to record the shutout. The win improved UGA's all-time record vs. Mississippi State to 13-3, with six straight wins in the series.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Sunday at the UGA Soccer Stadium, welcoming the Aggies for a 3 p.m. contest set to air on ESPNU. Pam Ward and Cat Whitehill will be on the call on television, while Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio coverage free of charge, with Kevin Copp behind the mic for GTV.