Soccer Heads To Furman For Opener
Sophomore Carli Shultis


Sophomore Carli Shultis
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Aug. 17, 2011

ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team kicks off its 2011 campaign on Fri., Aug. 19 on the road in Greenville, S.C., taking on SoCon opponent Furman in a meeting set to kick off at 8 p.m. at Stone Soccer Stadium.

Georgia returns eight regular starters from last year's SEC semifinal squad while adding nine newcomers. It returns its top six point producers as well as All-SEC goalkeeper Ashley Baker.

"Our team is eager to kick off the 2011 season," said second-year head coach Steve Holeman. "We anticipate a great match-up with Furman and will certainly need to be at our best to get a positive result. We have made a lot of progress throughout preseason and are ready for our first test."

SEASON OPENERS: Georgia is 11-2-2 all-time in season openers - most recently falling 1-0 to Duke last season at home. Still, the Bulldogs have outscored the opposition 22-2 in the last eight season openers.

LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia soccer team fell 2-0 to No. 5 Florida State in exhibition action last Friday evening after battling to a scoreless first half at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

Faced with a number of early-season injuries, Georgia made just three substitutions on the evening and was without the services of several key players.

Florida State had just one shot in the first half before coming on in the second to tally their two goals. It marked the fifth straight season in which these teams opened their respective seasons with an exhibition match on FSU's field.

LOOKING AT FURMAN: The Paladins went 6-0 during its 2011 spring slate, defeating Kennesaw State, Georgia State, Wingate, UNC Asheville, Lander, and Gardner-Webb over that span in preparation for the fall and the season-opener vs. the Bulldogs.

Furman returns a pair of All-SoCon selections from a season ago in Martha Hall and Rachel Shelnutt. Hall and Shelnutt shared the league lead with 10 goals each, while goalkeeper Jessica Smith is back after establishing herself as a force in the league with a 1.07 goals against average in 2010.

In all, Furman brings back seven starters from a squad that went 9-8-3 last season.

SERIES HISTORY, FURMAN VS. GEORGIA: Georgia is 3-0-1 all-time vs. the Paladins, though the two teams haven't clashed since the 2006 season when the Bulldogs won by a 3-0 score.

Georgia is undefeated at 17-0-1 all-time vs. the Southern Conference - one of eight conferences against which the Bulldogs have never suffered a loss.

NEW FACES: Among Georgia's nine newcomers this season are a trio of players from the state of Colorado from the same club team. Jenna Owens, Madison Meyers, and Bella Hartley - who will redshirt the season with a knee injury - were members of Real Colorado and make up a stellar recruiting class that also includes Georgia product Ansley Morgan, California native Tori Cooper, and a goalkeeper from the state of Wyoming in Kathleen Eastman.

The Bulldogs added three players - sophomores Chika Ibiam and Kylee Piatczyc and junior Maria Palumbo - from the club soccer team.

COVERAGE INFORMATION: The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs will have a variety of coverage for the season. Beginning with the Furman contest, most games will have three options including live statistics, live blogging, and either live video or audio available on Georgiadogs.com. The Furman game will offer live audio with commentary provided by Kevin Copp, who begins his fifth season as the voice of the Bulldogs.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Bulldogs open the home portion of their schedule next weekend, hosting Texas and Villanova on Friday and Sunday, respectively, at the UGA Soccer Stadium. The Aug. 26 contest vs. the Longhorns will go at 7 p.m. while Sunday vs. the Wildcats is set for 1 p.m. Georgia has never faced either opponent.

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