Aug. 22, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team (2-0) is headed on the road for the first time in 2012, traveling to participate in the Kansas Invitational at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The Bulldogs will take on host KU on Fri., Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. ET, before staying in town to meet South Dakota State in neutral-site action on Sun., Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Georgia will offer live audio coverage for both contests on Georgiadogs.com with commentary from Kevin Copp - beginning just prior to kickoff. The Georgia Soccer Live Blog will also be up and running in addition to live scoring.
Last Time Out: Georgia started its season 2-0 for the first time since 2009 with wins last weekend over UNC Greensboro and Furman at home. The Bulldogs finished off Friday night’s action with a penalty kick goal from Alexa Newfield in overtime, while Sunday Georgia got the game-winner from redshirt freshman Bella Hartley in the 83rd minute. The squad out-shot its opposition by a count of 46-16 in the two games, while senior keeper Ashley Baker finished with nine total saves.
Looking at the Jayhawks: Georgia and Kansas are no stranger to one another, having faced off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last November in Lawrence. The Bulldogs won that one by a score of 2-0.
The Jayhawks enter the season’s second weekend at 1-1 following a pair of overtime games on opening weekend. Kansas won its debut by a 2-1 score in th first extra period over UC Santa Barbara, with the game-winner coming off the foot of freshman Ashley Williams in the 97th minute. KU then fell by the same score to visiting Northwestern on Sunday, suffering a rebound goal in the 95th minute to take the loss.
Kansas is coming off an 11-9-1 season in 2011 and its fifth NCAA bid. The Jayhawks returned all starters from that squad.
Series History, Georgia vs. Kansas: Georgia and Kansas have battled just three times on the pitch in their histories, with UGA prevailing in all three for a 3-0 all-time record in the series. The most recent meeting was last season’s first round game on Nov. 13, 2011.
Georgia is 6-3-1 all-time against Big 12 opposition.
Looking at the Jackrabbits: South Dakota State enters the Kansas Invitational at 1-1 after a 2-0 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay and a 5-0 loss to Wisconsin on opening weekend. In the win over Green Bay, SDSU got goals six minutes apart by forward Diana Potterveld and midfielder Darci Miller late in the second half to take the victory on the road.
The Jackrabbits were picked to finish second in the Summit League, and were ranked No. 61 in the preseason Top Drawer Soccer projected field of 64 list. SDSU finished 2011 at 12-6-2 overall and 8-0-1 in conference. The group brings back five starters and 12 additional letterwinners from that campaign, in addition to 12 freshmen and a transfer joining in 2012. Included in that group of returning starters are three members of the best back line in school history, which posted a consecutive scoreless minutes streak of 832:23, the 12th-longest streak in NCAA history.
Series History, Georgia vs. South Dakota State: South Dakota State is one of four teams on the Bulldogs’ 2012 schedule that Georgia has never faced. Georgia has never faced any team from the Summit League.
About the Bulldogs: The 2012 Bulldogs return nine starters and 16 letterwinners from last season’s NCAA second round campaign, including All-SEC midfielder Alexa Newfield and goalkeeper Ashley Baker. The squad also welcomes in eight freshmen.
In 2011 Georgia made the field of 64 and reached the second round for just the sixth time in school history, putting together a record of 13-7-2 (6-3-2 SEC). It was Georgia’s fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons and eighth overall, as UGA defeated Kansas in the first round before falling to the eventual national runner-up Duke, 3-1.
Georgia’s 2012 schedule is again a difficult one, with the squad set to face off against 11 NCAA Tournament teams from last season as well as five teams ranked in the preseason NSCAA top-25 poll.
Eyes on Newfield: Junior midfielder/forward Alexa Newfield will be one to watch in 2012, as the returning All-SEC and NSCAA All-South Region first team selection is back from a 2011 season in which she broke the Georgia school record for shots (102) and points (40) in a single season. She entered 2012 ranked second at UGA in career shots with 189, as well as fourth all-time in points (60), and fifth in goals (24).
Newfield led the Bulldogs in both goals (16) and assists (eight) last season as a sophomore, and ranked atop all the major offensive categories in the SEC in 2011, including goals (16), goals per game (0.73), shots (102), shots per game (4.64), points (40), points per game (1.82), and game-winning goals (7).
On opening weekend she lifted Georgia to the double overtime win over UNC Greensboro, converting on a penalty kick.
Bulldogs Ranked No. 24 in NCAA Projection: The Georgia soccer team comes in at No. 24 this week in the Top Drawer Soccer “Tournament 64” rankings, after starting No. 25 in the preseason edition.
The rankings are a season-long attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth. Defending national champion Stanford and runner-up Duke came in at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, followed by Florida State, new SEC member Texas A&M, and Wake Forest to round out the top five.
Georgia is one of five Southeastern Conference programs included in the latest projected tournament field, joining the fourth-ranked Aggies, No. 17 Florida, No. 23 LSU, and No. 39 South Carolina. The SEC sent eight teams to last season’s NCAA Tournament, which ranked second-most among any conference in the nation behind only the ACC’s nine.
Updated projections will be released every Monday during the season.
Milestone Nearing for Holeman: Georgia head coach Steve Holeman needs just nine wins to secure the 200th of his career. He entered the season at 189-137-37 overall in 18 seasons at Auburn, Ole Miss, and Georgia. That ranks him tied for 46th all-time in career victories among active Division I coaches, and seventh in the SEC.
Next Up: Georgia will be on the road again next weekend, heading to Orlando, Fla., to meet South Florida and Central Florida Aug. 31-Sept. 2.