Oct. 24, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. --- The 20th-ranked Georgia soccer team rallied to tie the score in the second half but allowed the game-winner in the 77th minute, suffering a 2-1 loss to Auburn Sunday at the UGA Soccer Stadium in front of a season-high crowd of 2,417 and the largest since 2003.
The game served as Senior Day for the program's six seniors - Christy Barrow, Kelli Corless, Traci Dreesen, Marah Falle, Mariah Krase, and Caroline Simpson. The group has been a part of three straight NCAA Tournament teams and were freshmen on Georgia's 2007 team that set a program record for wins.
Georgia falls to 10-4-4 (5-2-3) with the loss while AU improves to 10-6-2 (4-4-2).
"Falling behind wasn't a situation we were used to," said head coach Steve Holeman. "We came out a little flat to start the game. After that we played much better and actually had some momentum going into halftime. We responded well in getting the equalizer in the second half."
"We have a lot of soccer ahead of us," he said. "We have to get ready for a good Tennessee team next Friday and then the SEC Tournament. We still have a strong bid for the NCAA Tournament, so there is a lot of good soccer to go."
Auburn struck first just 6:05 into the game off a corner kick. Katy Frierson took the kick and sent it inside to an awaiting Maddie Barnes, who headed it past keeper Ashley Baker for her first of the season. It was the Tigers' first goal in a first half in seven games.
With 32:40 showing on the clock, the Bulldogs looked like they might find the equalizer as freshman Alexa Newfield was in front facing keeper Amy Howard. But Newfield couldn't get a shot off before the two collided and Howard was able to keep it out of danger.
The Bulldogs continued to generate chances late in the first frame, and with around six minutes left in the opening period Corless crossed a ball in front that was just out of the reach of a pair of Georgia players.
Junior Alex Hooker had a chance to tie it with under six left when she was fed with a long service upfield from Bailey Powell and fired it at the goal, but Howard just barely got her hands on it to keep it out. Freshman Meghan Gibbons had a shot saved around the four minute mark off a bicycle kick from the right side of the six.
Despite leading in shots, 9-4, at the break, Georgia went into the locker room facing the 1-0 deficit.
The Dogs continued to hammer it after halftime. Sophomore Laura Eddy fed a cross to Gibbons in front just two minutes in, but the rookie's header look went wide of the goal.
The Georgia goal finally came nearly 20 minutes into the second half as Ashley Miller had a shot blocked to set up a Georgia corner. Dreesen stepped in for it, sending it to freshman Madeline Barker who touched it over to Susannah Dennis on the right side of the 18, and the sophomore placed a perfect ball into the near corner to even the score at 1-1. It was her fourth of the season.
The Tigers took the lead back, however, at the 76:41 mark when Gabi Rivera fired one from the right side just inside the far post the make it 2-1 on her third of the season.
Georgia continued to get opportunities as they were forced to play from behind again, and just moments later Gibbons had a flick go just high of the goal and land on the netting on a chance in front.
Defender Torri Allen got involved late in the game, pressing up and sending a last-second dish over to Gibbons who was stripped with around eight to play. The Bulldogs dominated the final 10 minutes but were still searching for their second goal. Nicole Locandro passed one up to Eddy with just a minute left, and the sophomore sent it back inside to Allen whose point blank chance was stopped by Howard.
Auburn had a chance at the counter down the other end, and the Bulldogs were called for a foul in the box to set up a Tiger penalty kick. Sammy Towne took it, but her shot went wide left with just seconds on the clock and Georgia out of time, sealing the 2-1 win for visiting Auburn.
Gibbons led all players with her six shots, while Dennis had three for Georgia. The Dogs finished in front in that category, 17-12. The freshman Newfield took one on the day, and is still in need of just one more to tie the Georgia single-season record for shots with 76.
The Bulldogs will close out the regular season next Friday when they travel to face SEC East rival Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., at 7 p.m. The SEC Championships are slated for Nov. 3-7 in Orange Beach, Ala., which will be comprised of the top eight teams in conference. Georgia currently has 18 points and is standing in third place in the division.