Oct. 25, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. --- The Georgia soccer team won its first game in Baton Rouge since 2000, picking up a 2-1 victory over LSU Friday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium with both goals coming from freshmen in the key road victory.
Rachel Garcia put the Bulldogs on the board just three minutes in, while classmate Marion Crowder tallied what proved to be the game-winner in the second half and an 84th-minute Tiger goal was not enough as Georgia came away with the three big Southeastern Conference points.
LSU (9-6-2, 5-3-1) tonight had a five-game home unbeaten streak snapped, while the Bulldogs improved to 11-5-1 (4-4-1) with the win. Georgia now sits in eighth place in the SEC standings heading into Sunday's contest at Arkansas, with the top 10 teams in the conference earning a trip to the SEC Championships in Orange Beach Nov 4-10. Following the meeting with the Razorbacks, the Bulldogs will close out the regular-season slate next Thursday at home vs. rival Florida.
"This is such a huge win for this team," said head coach Steve Holeman, who tonight coached his 400th career game. "I am really proud of the girls and the way they fought and came out with a lot of energy. We were able to move the ball well and possess well, and we created a lot of good chances. I thought we played one of our best games of the season."
"We were able to just play our game and play within our system," Holeman said. "We got that second goal, which turned out to be important, and in the second half they pressed us as expected, but we held on and got a much-needed three points."
The Bulldogs came out firing from the start, and grabbed the early 1-0 lead off the head of Garcia just 2:59 into the contest to set the tone. The goal came after a long clearance upfield from defender Nikki Hill, and Garcia placed the header perfectly past the keeper and into the bottom corner just inside the near post for the score - her third of the season and first in SEC action. It marked the second-earliest the Bulldogs had scored in a game this season after Crowder tallied a goal just 2:22 into the game vs. Ole Miss to mark the earliest.
The Bulldogs used the early goal to get some first-half momentum going, and continued to pressure LSU as time wore on. With 28 minutes on the clock before halftime, freshman Gabby Seiler had a hard shot go high, and Crowder had one saved after a good move up top and working for the left-footed chance inside. Midfielder Nicole Locandro had a shot saved by the LSU keeper Megan Kinneman with 24 minutes left, and just before halftime Caroline Waters sent one inside to an awaiting Lauren Tanner, but her header was saved as well.
At the break, the Bulldogs continued guarding the 1-0 lead on the road, edging out the Tigers in shots by an 8-6 margin.
Early in the second half, Crowder had a breakaway opportunity and dished off to Garcia, who had a shot blocked, and Crowder's follow on the rebound rolled wide. Seven minutes into the second frame, Madeline Barker took a corner kick, but Garcia's shot off the set piece went high of the mark.
The Bulldogs then tacked on the second goal in the 65th minute as Barker and Seiler worked through a good passing sequence before finding Crowder open in front, and the rookie did not miss, firing her team-leading 11th goal of the year past Kinneman to make it 2-0, while both Barker and Seiler were credited with assists on the play. Crowder is now just one goal shy of tying the Georgia freshman record for scores in a season, set in 2006 by All-American Carrie Patterson.
Moments later, Barker had a header go just wide left, and Georgia continued in search of a third goal.
But LSU was able to cut the deficit in half in the 84th minute, as a corner kick chance set up Fernanda Pina for a shot, but after her attempt was blocked, Jodi Calloway was there to finish, making it 2-1 with the Tigers still armed with plenty of time to find the equalizer.
Despite a late flurry of LSU chances at the tie, the Bulldog back line and keeper Caitlin Woody were able to withstand it, and Georgia came away with the tough road win.
In all, the Bulldogs finished ahead in the shot count, 21-12, with Crowder ending with six and Seiler with five to lead the way. Crowder now has seven game-winning goals on the year for UGA, good for second-most all-time and just one shy of first.
Georgia is now 8-5-2 all-time in the series vs. LSU, and tonight snapped that 13-year drought for the program in Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs will round out their final regular-season road trip of the 2013 season as they travel to face Arkansas on Sunday at 2 p.m. That game will be televised regionally on CSS, while Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage beginning just before kickoff. Thursday's game vs. the Gators in Athens will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will serve as Senior Night.