Oct. 29, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team (12-5-1, 5-4-1) returns home for the final game of the 2013 regular season this Thursday night, hosting league rival and sixth-ranked Florida on Oct. 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the UGA Soccer Stadium. Admission is free, and the Bulldogs' eight seniors will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Georgiadogs.com will offer live video coverage for the match-up with the Gators.
Entering the weekend, the Bulldogs are tied with LSU for sixth place in the Southeastern Conference standings. The top 10 teams in the league will participate in the 2013 SEC Championships set for Nov. 4-10 in Orange Beach, Ala., with UGA already punching its ticket to return to the tournament after narrowly missing out in 2012. The squad can finish anywhere from sixth to eighth in the conference race heading into the final night of competition. The top six teams automatically advance to Wednesday's second round matches, while the bottom four teams play in the first round on Monday. A bracket will be posted to Georgiadogs.com when available.
Senior Night: The Florida game will mark Senior Night for Georgia's eight departing players - Torri Allen, Madeline Barker, Meghan Gibbons, Nikki Hill, Chika Ibiam, Callie Corbin Langford, Nicole Locandro, and Caitlin Woody. Since joining the team, the senior class has reached the NCAA Tournament one time and the SEC Tournament twice, with a ticket punched for a third trip next week.
The class has a career record of 43-29-9 (0.586).
Last Time Out: Georgia picked up a rare SEC road sweep this weekend, tallying wins over LSU (2-1) and Arkansas (1-0) to punch the team's ticket to the SEC Championships as the Bulldogs sit in a tie for sixth in the league standings heading into the regular-season finale. The wins marked the team's first road sweep of the LSU-Arkansas games since 1996.
Georgia got goals from a pair of freshmen in Rachel Garcia and Marion Crowder on Friday, while senior Madeline Barker provided the magic on Sunday, curling in a corner kick to give Georgia the 1-0 lead and the eventual game-winner in the 10th minute vs. the Razorbacks. Goalkeeper Caitlin Woody posted her 11th shutout of the season on Sunday, as she continues to build on her own school record for blank sheets in a single season.
Looking at the Gators: No. 6 Florida enters the weekend tied for first in the SEC race with Texas A&M with an SEC record of 8-2-0 and standing at 14-3-1 overall in 2013. The Gators are coming off a pair of shutout wins, as the squad defeated Tennessee 3-0 last Friday and the Aggies 2-0 on Sunday.
Florida is led by freshman Savannah Jordan's league-leading 18 goals, while Havana Solaun is next with six goals and five assists and Pamela Begic has four goals and five assists. in goal, Taylor Burke has played the majority of minutes, allowing just 0.4 goals per game on five goals allowed, making 30 saves with seven shutouts.
Georgia trails in the all-time series vs. UF, 2-24-1. In 2012 the Bulldogs lost 4-1 to the Gators in Gainesville.
Stacking Up: Throughout the 2013 campaign, the Bulldogs have stacked up well both nationally and in the SEC in several categories. In the NCAA statistics, released for the first time last month and updated after games through Oct. 27, Georgia's goals-against average of 0.709 ranks 33rd in the nation and third in the SEC, while the save percentage of 0.838 is 36th overall and tops in the conference. Additionally, Georgia's shutout percentage of 0.611 ranks 14th in the nation and is also leading the SEC.
Individually, Marion Crowder's 11 goals rank 41st in the NCAA and fifth in the SEC, while the rookie's 0.611 goals-per-game average is good for 54th nationally and sixth in the conference. Goalkeeper Caitlin Woody's 0.709 goals-against average ranks her 34th in the NCAA and third in the SEC, while her 0.831 save percentage puts her 49th overall and is good for second in the league.
Crowder Power: When Marion Crowder scored four goals against the College of Charleston on Sept. 15, she became the first freshman to do so in Georgia soccer history. The only other player to score four goals in a game for the Bulldogs was senior Jessica Winton, and it happened a decade ago. With a team-leading 11 goals and one assist for 23 points, Crowder already ranks second all-time among UGA freshman in a single season (chasing Carrie Patterson's 12 goals in 2006), while her team-best seven game-winning goals rank second all-time still with one regular-season game and at least one in Orange Beach.
Before she was kept off the board at Kentucky on Sept. 29, Crowder had scored in four straight games, and promptly got back in the scoring column against Ole Miss on Oct. 6 as she tallied one in the third minute of the game. She has scored in eight of Georgia's 18 games this season.
Next Up: The Bulldogs will head to the 2013 SEC Championships, set for Nov. 4-10 in the tournament's neutral-site home of Orange Beach, Ala. Georgia's seeding and first opponent will be determined after the conclusion of play on Thursday night.