Oct. 27, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. --- The Georgia soccer team posted a 1-0 win over Arkansas on Sunday afternoon at Razorback Field to secure the team's place in the 2013 SEC Championships the week after next in Orange Beach, Ala.
Georgia (12-5-1, 5-4-1) comes away with the weekend sweep following today's win and Friday night's 2-1 decision over LSU. It marks the Bulldogs' first sweep of the LSU-Arkansas road weekend since 1996. With one regular-season game remaining, Georgia sits tied with LSU for sixth place in the league standings.
"Well, we're happy to be going back," head coach Steve Holeman said of the return trip to the tournament after narrowly missing out in 2012. "We knew we had control of our own destiny today, and we got it done. This was no easy task. Arkansas is a team that grinds. They play hard, they rotate a lot of players in, and they don't get shut out very often. They're very dangerous on set pieces and they were dangerous today. Our defense stepped up and we did what we needed to do to win."
The Bulldogs got on the board just over 10 minutes into the contest, as senior Madeline Barker curled a corner kick opportunity inside the near post and over the line for the early score, giving Georgia the 1-0 lead on the senior's seventh goal of the year. It was the first time UGA had scored directly on a corner kick service since Kelli Corless did so in 2010 at home vs. LSU in Holeman's first season at Georgia.
Arkansas keeper Cameron Carter made a highlight reel save on Marion Crowder just moments later, as the Georgia freshman had a close-range opportunity denied as she sent it near post.
The Bulldogs controlled the majority of the run of play over the first half, and had another big chance to add to the lead with 12 minutes to play in the opening frame when Gabby Seiler had a header off an Andie Fontanetta corner kick stopped by Carter. Bella Hartley had a shot blocked inside with under nine minutes to go, after a Nikki Hill run up the left side and a cross into danger. Georgia's 1-0 lead stood up at halftime, with the Bulldogs leading 8-6 in the shot column through 45:00.
To start the second half, freshman Rachel Garcia had a shot poked away by Carter on a breakaway as the Razorbacks net-minder did her part to keep it a one-goal deficit.
Georgia then did its part on the defensive end as play opened up later in the second, first with senior defender Torri Allen garnering a defensive save by heading a ball off the end line once Georgia keeper Caitlin Woody was beaten out off a corner kick, while Woody then made one of the best saves of her senior season later in the half as she dove to deny an Yvonne DesJarlais point-blank attempt with under 37 minutes to go.
Woody again rose to the challenge as she batted away an Arkansas 1-v-1 opportunity with under nine minutes to go, and Arkansas was again threatening for the tying goal with two minutes to go when Ashleigh Ellenwood sent a shot high and over the crossbar, proving to be the Razorbacks' last big chance of the day.
As the clock expired on Georgia's 1-0 win, it marked only the second time this season Arkansas had been shut out. Meanwhile, Woody recorded her school-record 11th shutout of the season, while the UGA team continues to chase the team record for blank sheets in a season, which stands at 12. Woody ended her day with four big saves.
The Bulldogs led Arkansas 14-13 in shots on the afternoon, while Georgia took 11 corner kicks to UA's one, including on the game-winning play.
Georgia improves to 11-2-3 all-time vs. Arkansas, and stands unbeaten in the series dating back to 2006.
The Bulldogs are back in action for the final game of the regular season this Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. vs. rival Florida. It will serve as Senior Night for Georgia's eight departing players.