Aug 28, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team is set to open the 2013 home slate this weekend, hosting in-state rival Mercer (1-0-1) on Friday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming Furman (0-1-0) for a Sunday game at 2 p.m., both at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
Georgia will offer live video coverage for both contests on Georgiadogs.com with commentary from Kevin Copp beginning just prior to kickoff. Live scoring will also be available on Georgiadogs.com.
Georgia in Home Openers: The Bulldogs are 12-4-2 all-time in home openers, including last season's 1-0 double overtime win over UNC Greensboro on Aug. 17.
Georgia has won six of the last eight home openers since 2005, outscoring opponents 20-5 in those games.
Last Time Out: The Georgia soccer team posted a 2-0 win over Houston on Sunday afternoon at the Carl Lewis International Complex, with a pair of first half goals from senior Nikki Hill and freshman Rachel Garcia making the difference.
The Bulldogs returned home from their tour of the Lone Star State with the split, starting the 2013 season with a record of 1-1 as they were able to avenge Friday night's 2-0 loss to Texas. Houston also sits at 1-1 to start the year after the loss.
Defensively, Georgia limited Houston to just one shot, which didn't come until the 89th minute. It marked just the fifth time in program history a Bulldog opponent had been held to one shot in a game. Georgia has twice kept an opponent from taking a shot and nearly did so Sunday.
About the Bulldogs: The 2013 Bulldogs return six regular starters and 15 letterwinners from last season, including first team All-South Region and second team All-SEC defender Torri Allen as well as the team's leading offensive player from 2012 in senior Nicole Locandro (4g, 3a, 11p). Additionally, the squad welcomed in 16 newcomers, including two Gatorade high school state players of the year in Marion Crowder (Mississippi) and Rachel Garcia (Georgia).
Georgia's 2013 schedule is again a difficult one, with the squad set to face off against six NCAA Tournament teams from last season. Georgia will play 11 home games and will only meet 11 of the 13 SEC teams this season in the second year of conference expansion, missing out on Vanderbilt and Tennessee during the regular season in 2013.
Looking at the Bears: Mercer makes the trip to Athens with a 1-0-1 record to start the season, coming off a 10-0 win over Alabama A&M and a 2-2 tie to Georgia State on the opening weekend.
Early on, three Bears players already have two goals to their name, including Annie Barrett, Tess Patton, and Sydney Brogden. Of Mercer's three active keepers, Maggie Cropp has played the most time in goal with 132 minutes played, with four saves and two goals allowed.
Mercer was picked to finish tied for third in the 2013 Atlantic Sun preseason coaches poll, with junior Lauren Gassie named to the league's preseason team. Gassie led Mercer with 19 points in 2012, tallying six goals and seven assists. Gassie, senior Devon Fry, and the sophomore Cropp, were each named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com top-20 players to watch in the A-Sun.
The Bears finished with a program-record 13 wins in 2012 going 13-5-3, reaching their fifth Atlantic Sun tounament title game in six seasons. The squad returns nine of last year's starters, including All-Atlantic Sun selections Patton and Cropp.
Georgia is 9-0-1 all-time vs. Mercer, most recently earning a 2-1 win over the Bears in 2011. The Bulldogs are 23-0-4 vs. Atlantic Sun teams.
Looking at the Paladins: Furman makes the trip to Athens after opening its 2013 campaign at 0-1, falling to Clemson on Sunday by a 1-0 score. Their Friday night game vs. Presbyterian was postponed due to weather and was rescheduled for this Friday night before the Paladins head to Georgia.
After finishing 16-3-3 and advancing to the final of the Southern Conference tournament in 2012, Furman was tabbed to win the SoCon by the coaches heading into this season. Sophomore Stephanie DeVita, the 2012 SoCon Player and Freshman of the Year, highlighted a group of five Paladins who were named to the 11-member preseason All-SoCon team this off-season. Furman midfielders Caitlin Shelton and Hannah Stanifer were also named to the All-SoCon squad along with defender Ali Simpson and goalkeeper Rose Hull.
Georgia is 5-0-1 all-time against Furman including last season's 2-1 victory, while the Bulldogs are 22-0-1 all-time vs. SoCon foes.
Milestone Nearing For Holeman: Georgia fourth-year head coach Steve Holeman is nearing a milestone in his career, as he sits just three wins shy of 200. Holeman's all-time record is 197-149-39 (.563) in 19 seasons. The longest-tenured active coach in the Southeastern Conference, Holeman coached one year at Auburn, 15 years at Ole Miss, and has completed three at UGA.
Next Up: Georgia will next play a split weekend, hosting Jacksonville next Friday night before playing UNC Greensboro on the road on Sunday. The Spartans are coached by former UGA assistant coach and volunteer coach Steve Nugent, who is in his third season at the helm of the UNCG program.