Bulldogs Prepare For Two Road Games
Head coach Steve Holeman will return to Oxford, where he spent 15 years at Ole Miss.


Head coach Steve Holeman will return to Oxford, where he spent 15 years at Ole Miss.
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Oct. 3, 2012

ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team (5-6-2, 1-3-2) will hit the road again in the SEC to take on Ole Miss and South Carolina this weekend. The Bulldogs will meet the Rebels on Fri., Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. ET before heading to Columbia for a Sunday contest vs. the Gamecocks on Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.

The Bulldogs will offer live audio coverage and the Georgia Soccer Live Blog for both games on Georgiadogs.com.

Last Time Out: The Georgia soccer team went 0-1-1 last weekend with a 2-1 loss to Missouri on Friday night and a hard-fought 2-2 tie with LSU Sunday in a game that was televised on ESPNU.

On Friday night the Bulldogs got the goal from Meghan Gibbons but fell just short, while on Sunday Georgia fired 35 shots to LSU’s 17 but couldn’t find the go-ahead goal in overtime after the Tigers tied things up in the 84th minute. Both UGA goals Sunday came off the foot of junior Nicole Locandro, her first two of the season, including one via a penalty kick.

Looking at the Rebels: Ole Miss enters the weekend at 9-4-0 (2-4-0 SEC), coming off last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Florida and 1-0 loss to Auburn.

The Rebels are the most potent offense in the SEC, currently standing atop the league in points (95), points per game (7.31), goals (33), goals per game (2.54), and assists (29).

Individually, the team is led by two players with double-digit goals to their name in Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza (13 each). The duo is currently tops in the SEC in points, as Souza has 24 and McCalla 23 to rank first and second, respectively. Their 0.77 goals-per-game average is also first in the league.

Defensively, the Rebels are in the middle of the pack with 14 goals allowed in 13 games (1.08 gpg), which is tied for seventh in the league. Keeper Kelly McCormick’s 1.12 gaa ranks ninth, while her 0.794 save percentage is eighth.

Of note, Georgia head coach Steve Holeman will return to Oxford for just the second time since leaving Ole Miss after 15 seasons in 2010.

Series History, Georgia vs. Ole Miss: Georgia is 8-7-2 all-time vs. the Rebels, most recently earning a 3-0 win over Ole Miss at home in 2011.

Looking at the Gamecocks: South Carolina - the defending SEC regular-season champion - is 3-5-4 thus far in 2012. The Gamecocks graduated two-time All-American and two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley following last season, and in her absence USC has struggled offensively. Through the first 12, the squad is 12th in the SEC in shots (161), tied for 12th in points (46), 13th in goals (13), and 13th in goals per game (1.08).

The squad most recently lost 4-2 to Auburn last Friday night before drawing with Vanderbilt 1-1 on Sunday.

Eight players have found the back of the net for South Carolina, led by three apiece for Danielle Au and freshman Coryn Bajema.

Series History, Georgia vs. South Carolina: Georgia is 13-4-3 in the all-time series with the Gamecocks following last season’s 2-1 overtime victory in Athens and a 1-0 win in 2010 when USC was ranked No. 14. Georgia has won the last five regular season meetings with its border rival.

About the Bulldogs: The 2012 Bulldogs returned 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 that were ranked in the preseason NSCAA top-25 poll.

Through the first 13 games the Bulldogs have been paced by redshirt freshman Bella Hartley and junior Meghan Gibbons, each with four goals. Keeper Ashley Baker’s 72 saves rank second-most in the SEC. Junior Carli Shultis has added five assists so far, which is good for tied for fifth in the conference.

De-Fense: One of Georgia’s biggest strengths in 2012 has been its back four - comprised of seniors Jenna Buckley and Rebekah Perry and juniors Torri Allen and Nikki Hill. The Bulldog defense has risen to the task this season, limiting opposing teams to 1.17 goals per game. Veteran keeper Ashley Baker stands first in the SEC in saves per game (6.00) and second in saves (72), with three shutouts.

Balanced Offense: The Bulldogs have enjoyed a balanced offensive output in 2012, currently with 10 players with at least one goal to her name and three with multiple. Gibbons and Hartley lead the way with four each, while Nicole Locandro has two and seven others have one goal. A total of 13 players have at least one point.

Good Crowds: Georgia has seen impressive attendance yet again this season, currently attracting the second-highest crowds for home games in the SEC with 10,805 fans and an average of 1,544 per game behind only Texas A&M. In all, the Bulldogs have played before 14,432 fans in their 13 games, an average of 1,110 -- also second in the SEC.

One-Goal Games: The Bulldogs have played seven one-goal games out of 13 total outings in 2012, going 3-4 in those games. In 2011 Georgia played in nine one-goal games all season, with a record of 6-3.

Milestone Nearing for Holeman: Georgia head coach Steve Holeman needs just six more 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 and now sits with 194 career victories.

#SECsoccer20: The 2012 season marks the 20th anniversary of soccer in the Southeastern Conference (the 18th for UGA). In recognition of this milestone, the SEC is running historical features on each program on its Web site throughout the season - SECdigitalnetwork.com. Georgia’s feature on All-American Stephanie Yarem Ransom, who played on Georgia’s inaugural soccer team - ran Mon., Sept. 17. The SEC also plans to run promotions and giveaways using the hashtag #SECsoccer20.

Next Up:  Georgia returns to the UGA Soccer Stadium for its final home series next weekend, set to welcome Auburn and Kentucky to Athens on Friday and Sunday, Oct. 12 & 14, respectively. The Bulldogs’ Sunday match-up vs. the Wildcats will serve as Senior Day for the program’s four seniors - Ashley Baker, Jenna Buckley, Sooz Dennis, and Rebekah Perry.

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