Oct. 19, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. --- The Georgia soccer team went on the road and claimed three big points in the SEC standings Friday night, defeating Mississippi State by a 3-0 score at the MSU Soccer Field in Starkville, Miss. Junior Nicole Locandro led the way with two goals and an assist on the night.
With the win Georgia improves to 7-9-2 (3-6-2) and remains in the hunt for one of the 10 available spots in the SEC Soccer Championships set for Oct. 29-Nov. 2 in Orange Beach, Ala., with two games to play.
"We needed that one," said head coach Steve Holeman. "It's great for the girls. We've been in so many close matches and it's nice to see them rewarded for their efforts. Once again we stepped on the field and played well, and it's nice to get the result."
"We'll enjoy this victory and then focus on our next opponent tomorrow," Holeman said. "We're in control of our destiny now [for the SEC Tournament] and don't have to worry about what other teams do if we win our games. We need to take it one at a time - there's two left and we know it and we will come out with great effort."
Georgia struck early in this one, as Locandro put the Bulldogs up 1-0 in the sixth minute as she headed in a perfectly placed Andie Fontanetta corner kick at the near post just 5:46 in. It was Locandro's third goal of the season, while Fontanetta picked up the assist for her first career point.
The Bulldogs enjoyed their share of additional chances in the first frame, including a big one with 25 minutes remaining when Locandro found Cooper open in front, but Cooper was whistled barely offside on a play that would've left her one-on-one with MSU keeper Cj Winship.
Georgia had another corner opportunity - one of five in the first frame and 10 overall - with seven minutes to play in the first half when Carli Shultis fired it off the set piece to Locandro, whose shot was blocked. It then found its way back out to Shultis, whose attempt was saved by Winship.
At the end of the first half Georgia led in shots 9-2 and still guarding that 1-0 lead, searching for insurance on the road.
With under 29 minutes to go in the second, Fontanetta put together a great run on the right side before sending one across the goal to an awaiting Meghan Gibbons, whose shot was stopped and poked out for a Georgia corner. Defender Jenna Buckley earned a shot off the kick, but her low line drive from the top of the 18 was stopped.
The Bulldogs then went up 2-0 as Locandro found Chika Ibiam in front, and Ibiam put away her first career goal from the center into the bottom right to pad the lead in the 64th minute. The assist went to Locandro.
Ibiam and Locandro would then team up to find Georgia its third goal, as Ibiam was taken down inside the box to earn a Bulldog penalty kick. Locandro would finish into the right side past Winship to make it 3-0 in the 69th minute, good for her fourth goal of the season and second via a PK.
The Bulldogs then held on to preserve the shutout - their sixth of the year - and limit MSU to just five shots all night. Georgia ended ahead in that category, 22-5, with Locandro owning five of those to lead both teams. Georgia netminder Ashley Baker was forced to make just one save on the night as the UGA defense put in another solid effort in front of her.
Mississippi State drops to 8-9-1 (1-9-1) on the season. Georgia is now 12-3 all-time vs. the other Bulldogs.
Georgia will head to College Station, Texas, for Sunday afternoon's meeting with SEC West leader Texas A&M. The Bulldogs have never faced TAMU. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. ET and Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage.