Oct. 20, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. --- The Georgia soccer team closed its regular-season road slate with a 0-0 tie against No. 22 Auburn Thursday night at the Auburn Soccer Complex, extending its unbeaten streak to five games. The Bulldogs now stand at 12-4-1 (6-2-1), good for third place in the Southeastern Conference race with two to play.
Georgia and Auburn were even at 14 shots apiece through 110 minutes of scoreless soccer on the night. Alexa Newfield fired six of those, needing just five to tie her own school record of 87 set last season.
"We're playing some of our best soccer right now," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Unfortunately tonight, we did a good job getting into our final third but didn't finish. We played very well defensively tonight and shut out a great Auburn front line. Overall we're playing great soccer and we're about where we need to be right now."
Georgia's best opportunity in the first half came after a corner kick on the left side, when the ball found its way back to Jenna Buckley on the right side of the defense. Buckley moved forward and sent a perfect ball into the box, where Meghan Gibbons awaited but sent a header wide right with under eight minutes to go in the first. The first half ended with Georgia leading in shots by a slim 6-4 margin, with neither side finding many good looks on the offensive end.
Auburn had an opportunity in the second half when the Tigers were awarded a free kick that Ashley Baker dove to stop, setting up an AU corner. Katy Frierson stepped in to take it and Baker made a great play on the corner to tap it out.
Later in the second Ashley Miller fired wide left after taking a pass from Newfield and Jenna Owens on the play. Then with 21 minutes left, Riliegh McHugh had a free kick that was headed on by Nicole Locandro, but the Tiger defense handled it.
With 5:15 to go in regulation, Auburn had a scary chance off a corner kick that was headed on and deflected by Georgia left back Nikki Hill. It hit off of Hill into the bottom side of the crossbar and just barely stayed out of the goal.
Neither team saw much action in the first extra time, but Auburn came close to putting away the game-winner in the second OT when Mary Coffed broke free of the Bulldog back line and found herself 1-v-1 on Baker. But the All-SEC keeper denied the point-blank chance to keep Georgia in it on what was easily Auburn's best chance of the evening.
Down the other end, Jenna Owens would play in a high cross, but Newfield was high on the shot from inside.
Newfield then worked free for a breakaway with two minutes to go, but the AU defense played it out of danger when Newfield tried a pass to Susannah Dennis. Auburn had two late chances before Newfield and Owens had their last run intercepted by the defense and time expired on the scoreless draw.
Baker made five saves in 110 minutes of action, recording her fifth clean sheet and fourth in SEC play. AU had six shots in the second overtime.
Georgia is now in third place in the SEC race after Florida and South Carolina both won tonight. LSU is in fourth and Auburn fifth. Auburn is now 11-4-2 (5-3-1) on the year while the all-time series between Georgia and Auburn is 9-7-2 in favor of the Bulldogs. Tonight was Georgia's fifth overtime of the season, now 4-0-1 in those games.
The Bulldogs will host Alabama this Sunday at 2 p.m. in their third TV game of the season (CSS). Live video coverage is available on Georgiadogs.com while it will also be carried on local radio 1340 WGAU. The finale will come next Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. vs. Tennessee at the UGA Soccer Stadium.