Oct. 17, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team (6-9-2, 2-6-2) is set to begin a three-game road trip that will conclude the 2012 regular season, first traveling to Starkville, Miss., to meet Mississippi State before heading to College Station, Texas, for a meeting with SEC newcomer Texas A&M.
Georgia will take on the other Bulldogs on Fri., Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. ET before taking on the Aggies for the first time in history on Sun., Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage for both games on Georgiadogs.com.
Last Time Out: The Georgia soccer team dropped a pair of heartbreakers last weekend, each by 1-0 scores, to Auburn and Kentucky in the final homestand of the 2012 season. The Bulldogs and Tigers on Friday night played 84 minutes of scoreless soccer before AU broke through with six to play and held on for the game-winner.
On Sunday Georgia suffered the opposite fate as Kentucky scored just 6 minutes in and the teams would then play the rest of the match scoreless despite Georgia ending up in shots, 21-8.
Looking at the (Other) Bulldogs: Mississippi State comes into the weekend at 8-8-1 (1-8-1), currently in last place in the SEC with four points. MSU is coming off a split weekend - a 3-2 win on the road at Alabama last Friday and a 4-1 loss to Florida in Gainesville Sunday.
The Bulldogs are paced by Elisabeth Sullivan’s 9-goal, 4-assist effort for 22 points, ranking third in the SEC. Her 70 shots and 4.12 shots-per-game rank first in each category. Behind Sullivan, MSU’s Honeye Heydari has six goals and five assists for 17 points, while Amy Hoover has four goals. In goal, Skylar Rosson has started 16 of 17 games to this point, but was issued a red card in the team’s last outing and will have to sit out vs. Georgia. Backup keeper Cj Winship has seen action in four games this year with one start, allowing seven goals on 46 shots faced for a 3.15 goals-against average in 200 minutes.
Series History, Georgia vs. MSU: Georgia is 11-3 all-time vs. Mississippi State, with none of those wins bigger than last season’s 4-3 decision over the Bulldogs in Athens.
UGA went down 3-0 to visiting Mississippi State in the teams’ contest on Oct. 7, 2011, before coming all the way back to score three goals in the final 19 minutes to tie, while Ashley Miller put in the game-winner in the 103rd minute in double OT. The game feature three PKs - two for Georgia.
It was also the program’s 200th all-time victory.
Looking at the Aggies: Texas A&M has wasted no time breaking into its new conference, already securing the team its first ever SEC Western Division title. At 14-2-1 overall and 8-1-1 in the SEC, the Aggies are currently in second place in the conference with 25 points, behind only Florida’s 27.
The Aggies are coming off a 3-1 win at Arkansas on Friday and a 4-0 wn over Vanderbilt Sunday for a seven-goal weekend sweep. TAMU is led by Annie Kunz with 10 goals and one assist for 21 points, while Kelley Monogue has nine goals for 18 points and Shea Groom stands with five goals and four assists for 14 points. Also in double-figure points for Texas A&M is Meghan Streight (3g, 6a, 12p) and Jayne Eadie (1 g, 8a, 10p). In goal, Jordan Day has started all 17 games, logging 1,533 minutes while allowing only eight goals all season. Her 0.47 goals-against average leads the SEC, while 0.877 save percentage is also tops in the league.
At No. 9 in the latest NSCAA poll, TAMU is the second top-10 team Georgia will meet this season, in addition to then-No. 9 UCF. In all, it is the third ranked team on the schedule at the time of the game as the Bulldogs also met No. 11 Missouri on Sept. 28.
Series History, Georgia vs. Texas A&M: Georgia and Texas A&M have never faced in their histories.
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 17 games the Bulldogs have been paced by redshirt freshman Bella Hartley and junior Meghan Gibbons, each with four goals. Keeper Ashley Baker’s 91 saves rank second in the SEC. Junior Carli Shultis has added five assists so far, which is good for tied for ninth 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 1.12 goals per game. Veteran keeper Ashley Baker stands in second in the SEC in saves per game (5.69) and saves (91), with three shutouts.
On Oct. 5 vs. Ole Miss, Georgia’s defense kept the Rebels off the scoreboard for just the third time this season after the squad entered the game leading the league in nearly every offensive category, while shutting down the SEC’s leading scorers in Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza.
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. Meghan Gibbons and Bella Hartley lead the way with four each, while Nicole Locandro and Madeline Barker have two and seven others have one goal.
A total of 13 players have at least one point.
One-Goal Games: The Bulldogs have played 10 one-goal games out of 15 total outings in 2012, going 3-7 in those games. In 2011 Georgia played in nine one-goal games all season, with a record of 6-3.
Next Up: The Bulldogs will play their regular-season finale next Thurs., Oct. 25 in Knoxville, Tenn., against SEC East rival Tennessee. The game is set for 7 p.m. ET and Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio and blog coverage. Georgia will then hope to qualify for the 2012 SEC Championships in Orange Beach, Ala., Oct. 29-Nov. 2. The top 10 of 14 SEC teams will make it.