Oct. 29, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- In a game that ended 18 hours after it began, the Georgia soccer team fell by a 2-0 score to visiting Tennessee on Senior Day at the UGA Soccer Stadium Saturday, finishing the regular season at 12-5-2 (6-3-2) heading into the SEC Championships next week in Orange Beach, Ala.
The game vs. the Lady Vols was scheduled for 7 p.m. last evening, but was called 21 minutes in after a light tower malfunctioned and it was deemed too dark to continue play. It resumed today at 12 p.m. with the teams picking up in the scoreless tie and playing the final 70 minutes of action in daylight.
Tennessee scored two in the second half, one apiece for leading-scorers Caroline Brown and Emily Dowd, to come away with the win.
"I'm disappointed in the result but more in our lack of urgency and effort," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Congratulations to Tennessee - they outplayed us and outworked us. Regardless of the circumstances, we came out flat from the start today and were lucky to be 0-0 at halftime. Tennessee got the goals they deserved."
"We need to refocus," Holeman said. "We've gone three straight games without scoring a goal in the run of play. We've created a lot of good opportunities and haven't been finishing. I think defensively we've played pretty well. We've had the table set for us the last three games to solidify our spot in the national tournament and let those opportunities pass us by. We're lucky to keep playing in Orange Beach and we'll need to make some changes to be more effective and more efficient."
Tennessee led in the final shot tally 14-12, taking seven corner kicks to Georgia's two. Lady Vol freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel made nine saves to post the shutout.
The Lady Volunteers broke the scoreless tie that carried over into Saturday when, in the 50th minute, a teammate sent a lofting cross into the middle that was cleared by a Georgia defender right to the foot of Brown. She one-timed it past Georgia keeper Ashley Baker for her 11th goal of the season to give Tennessee the 1-0 lead.
It became 2-0 when Dowd followed up a loose ball on a corner kick, sending a close-range shot past Baker from her spot on the left side, with assists on the play going to Chelsea Hatcher and Kylie Bono following the set piece in the 64th minute of action.
Georgia went over 20 minutes in the second half without taking a shot, but broke through with a great one on a free kick for Alexa Newfield with under five minutes to go as the sophomore fired it over to Meghan Gibbons on the right before Eckel batted down Gibbons' touch. That set up a Georgia corner, but the lady Vol defense handled the pressure.
Moments later, senior Jamie Pollock flicked one off the back of her foot to Gibbons, who sent a rocket at Eckel but the keeper made a diving stop to keep it out of the net. Bailey Powell then had a long-range shot go wide left after the ball trickled out to her in open space, and time expired on the Bulldogs' opportunities for the comeback.
It was the first time since the Texas game on Aug. 26 in which Georgia has lost by more than one goal and was the Bulldogs' first setback in nearly a month, last falling on the road at LSU on Oct. 2.
The Bulldogs earn the No. 5 seed for the SEC Tournament, which begins Wed., Nov 2 in Orange Beach. Georgia will meet fourth-seeded Florida in the first round set for 8:30 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage and the live blog will be rolling on Georgiadogs.com for the entirety of the Georgia stay at the tournament. The Bulldogs are in search of their first SEC title.