Nov. 3, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia soccer team (12-6-1, 5-5-1) concluded the regular season last Thursday and is headed to the beach, set to begin the 2013 SEC Championships Nov. 6-10 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.
The Bulldogs are the No. 6 seed, and will begin their postseason against No. 3 South Carolina on Wed., Nov 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET in quarterfinal action. As a top-six seed, Georgia was assured a first-round bye into the second round. Georgia is aiming for its first ever conference title, while the winner of the tournament takes the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs went 4-4-1 against the 2013 tournament field during the regular season, including a win over the Gamecocks.
The winner of the Georgia-South Carolina game will meet the winner of No. 2 Texas A&M vs. either No. 7 LSU/No. 10 Auburn in Friday’s second semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Georgiadogs.com will offer live audio coverage and the Georgia Soccer Live Blog as long as the Bulldogs are playing in Orange Beach. Live video streaming will be available on the SEC Digital Network for the early rounds, while the semifinals will air on ESPN3 and the finals on ESPNU on Sun., Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. ET.
Georgia at the SEC Championships: The Bulldogs are making their eighth trip to the SEC Tournament in the last nine seasons and 15th overall appearance. Georgia’s record in the conference tournament is 10-14-1, with three trips to the finals - most recently in 2008.
The Orange Beach Sportsplex has served as the SEC Championships’ neutral-site home since 2003.
Last Time Out: The Georgia soccer team was done in by set pieces on Thursday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium, as No. 6 Florida came away with a 5-1 win with three UF goals coming outside the run of play. It marked Senior Night for the Bulldogs’ eight departing players and represented the regular season finale, as Georgia now sits at 12-6-1 (5-5-1) entering the postseason.
The Bulldog goal came from senior Madeline Barker after halftime, as she tallied her career-best eighth of the season.
Looking at the Gamecocks: Third-seeded South Carolina heads to Orange Beach with an overall record of 15-2-2 and 8-2-1 in conference action. Georgia handed the Gamecocks one of only two losses on the 2013 regular season, a 2-0 victory for the Bulldogs in the SEC opener on Sept. 20 in Athens. In that game, Georgia got goals from freshman Marion Crowder and senior Laura Eddy and held on for the shutout win over then-No. 17/8 USC. It marked the Bulldogs’ eighth straight win at that point - the first such streak in program history - and tied the team’s best start through nine games.
South Carolina was ranked 10th in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll and is No. 17 in the RPI. The Gamecocks are coming off a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Kentucky on Thursday night, becoming the first team in program history to post a perfect 10-0 home record. The win also secured the squad its best regular-season winning percentage (.842).
The Gamecocks are led by Raina Johnson’s eight goals and one assist for 17 points, while Danielle Au has six goals and two assists for 14 points. Chelsea Drennan is also in double-digit points with one goal and 10 assists for 12 points. A total of 11 players have scored on the season for South Carolina. In goal, Sabrina D’Angelo has played all 1,770 minutes, posting a goals-against average of 0.56 with 45 saves and 10 shutouts.
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. 31, Georgia’s goals-against average of 0.930 ranks 74th nationally and third in the SEC, while the team’s 0.579 shutout percentage is good for 17th in the NCAA and first in the conference.
Individually, Marion Crowder’s 11 goals rank 45th in the NCAA and seventh in the SEC, while the rookie’s 0.579 goals-per-game ranks her 72nd nationally and seventh in conference. Her 23 points stand 82nd nationally and 10th in the SEC. Senior Madeline Barker also ranks nationally in the offensive categories, as her 0.421 goals-per-game average is 172nd in the NCAA and 13th in the league. Her 19 points are 144th in the NCAA and 15th in the SEC. Freshman Rachel Garcia’s five assists are 171st nationally and 15th in the SEC. On defense, keeper Caitlin Woody ranks 78th in the nation and third in the SEC with a goals-against average of 0.930, while Woody’s save percentage of 0.788 is 132nd overall and fourth in the league.
Next Up: Following the SEC Championships, Georgia will learn its NCAA Championships fate when the field of 64 is announced on Mon., Nov. 11 at 4:30 p.m. The selection show will be streamed live on NCAA.com.