Oct. 21, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- The Georgia soccer team forced double overtime on the road vs. ninth-ranked Texas A&M Sunday afternoon, before a UGA own-goal provided the Aggies the 1-0 victory in heartbreaking fashion at Ellis Field in College Station, Texas.
In the teams' first meeting in their histories following Texas A&M's move to the Southeastern Conference this season, Georgia kept the Aggies scoreless through regulation and the first overtime before allowing the game-winning goal when it ricocheted off a Georgia defender off a cross to the front of the goal with 6:42 to go in the second extra period.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 7-10-2 on the season and 3-7-2 in SEC play. Texas A&M improves to 15-3-1 and 9-2-1, already claiming the SEC West title in their first season in the league and still in the running for the league championship.
"I thought it was a pretty good game through the first 65 or 70 minutes," said head coach Steve Holeman. "I thought it was fairly even, maybe a slight edge to Texas A&M, but after our defender Torri Allen had to come off with an injury, you saw that Texas A&M is deeper than we are and it made a difference. In the last 20 minutes we were under a lot of pressure, and the defense held strong. Ashley Baker had to make a lot of saves, and she made them. You start thinking a tie would be a decent result here on the road against the No. 9 team in the country, and it didn't happen."
Fifteen minutes into the first half of regulation, forward Meghan Gibbons split the Aggie defenders and found herself open in front, but her shot was wide right. Georgia earned a corner kick on the play as the referee ruled that the ball touched an Aggie player on its way out, but the Bulldogs couldn't get a shot off following the set piece. Just after that, Tori Cooper found Bella Hartley in the center, but Hartley's shot went high of the goal.
Texas A&M had a great scoring chance with 16 minutes to go in the first after a free kick near the sideline, and after it was sent inside, Georgia defender Jenna Buckley saved the Bulldogs as she stepped in and cleared the ball off the line to keep things scoreless.
At the break TAMU owned the edge in shots, 10-5, while Baker had already logged five saves to her name.
The teams continued to battle with neither finding the back of the net in the second half, and with 13 minutes remaining in regulation defender Nikki Hill found forward Chika Ibiam, who got a foot on it but it was saved by the Aggie keeper.
Baker came up with a big stop for Georgia with four to go in the second frame, denying the Aggies on a second-effort shot following a corner kick.
Texas A&M turned on the jets in the first extra period, out-shooting Georgia 7-0 in those 10 minutes but failing to find the game-winner. Then, two minutes into the second overtime Baker dove to make a spectacular save that kept things scoreless, but TAMU would finally break through in the 104th minute as the Aggies saw a cross fired over from the right wing, and it bounced in front before hitting off a Georgia player and into the back of the net past Baker for the win.
Baker ended with 12 saves on Texas A&M's 13 shots on goal, while the Aggies ended with 33 shots on the day in testing the Bulldog back line. Georgia finished with 14, including four from Gibbons.
The Bulldogs are back in action for the regular-season finale on Thurs., Oct. 25, taking on Tennessee at 7 p.m. in Knoxville. Georgia can still stake a spot in the 2012 SEC Soccer Championships the following week in Orange Beach, Ala. Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage of the match-up with the Lady Volunteers.