Oct. 4, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The 20th-ranked Georgia soccer team overcame two deficits - with the help of a game-tying Madeline Barker goal with just over two minutes to play in regulation - but ultimately suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Alabama Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
After the senior Barker tied the game with her fourth goal of the season in the 88th minute to send the game to overtime, the Crimson Tide struck just 1:16 into the first extra period to snag the road win over the Bulldogs. With the loss, Georgia drops to 9-3 (2-2) on the season, while Alabama improves to 5-6 (3-1).
"That one hurts," said head coach Steve Holeman. "Credit Alabama - they are one of the most opportunistic teams I've seen in years. We outplayed them, we out-shot them, we did everything but out-score them. We were able to limit their opportunities and on our end we had a lot of great chances. In this game, two goals should have been enough to win. We don't give up a lot of goals in the run of play, but that was a fantastic goal by them in overtime. I thought starting overtime we had the momentum, but they scored against the run of play and that's how soccer goes sometimes."
Despite a 10-4 Georgia lead in shots through 45:00, the Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead into halftime off a 45th minute goal off the foot of Dani Herubin - her first of the season. The play was set up by Pia Rijsdijk, who found Herubin waiting in front and the junior was able to poke it past Caitlin Woody for the score just 44 seconds before the intermission.
Georgia had had its share of chances in the first half, including eight minutes in when Barker had a shot saved from inside the 18 as she spun herself free for the open shot. Freshman Rachel Garcia had an open look sail high moments later, and Garcia would then have a back heel flick just barely miss at the near post from inside the six-yard box with 15 to go in the first.
The Bulldogs increased the pressure late in the frame, and forward Bria Washington had an offering go wide right with 14 to play before Caroline Waters had her rebound chance off a Laura Eddy free kick get blocked out with the clock approaching 12 minutes left. Sophomore Andie Fontanetta sent a great cross inside with just over a minute to play, and Waters' resulting shot went wide left from close range, as the Bulldogs continued to knock on the door without breaking through. Georgia would then allow the late goal down the other end against the run of play, entering the locker room trailing 1-0 and aiming for the squad's first come-from-behind win of the season.
Through the first half, Georgia held the 10-4 lead in shots, paced by two each from Garcia and Waters, while forcing Alabama keeper Emily Rusk to make three saves. Georgia took the only two corner kicks of the first half.
The Bulldogs would tie the game for the first time in the 58th minute, as midfielder Nicole Locandro tallied her second of the season by converting on a header off a cross from Garcia to make it 1-1. But the Crimson Tide went back on top, 2-1, when an initial shot hit the crossbar and Rijsdijk would clean up a loose ball moments later, firing the rebound past Woody for her fourth of the season in the 70th minute.
With time winding down and the Bulldogs desperate for the equalizer, Washington had a shot blocked inside by an Alabama defender, and the home team continued pressuring in search of the tying goal.
It finally came in the 88th minute, when Barker took an Eddy pass to the corner, beat her defender to her left side, and fired into the bottom right corner past Rusk to tie it at 2-2 with just 2:09 to play in regulation.
But Alabama found the golden goal in the 92nd minute of action, just 1:16 into overtime, as Herubin sent a cross into danger that Molly Atherton was able to get a head on, sending it past Woody for the game-winner.
The Bulldogs ended up leading in the shot column by a count of 25-11, also leading in corners by a staggering 8-1 margin. Woody made three saves on the night, while Rusk made four for UA. Garcia and Barker led Georgia with a combined nine shots.
Tonight was Georgia's first home loss of the 2013 season, as the squad is now 6-1 on the year in Athens. That previous six-game winning streak at home is good for the third-longest in school history.
The Bulldogs will turn around to face 25th-ranked Ole Miss here on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Rebels fell 3-0 to Tennessee tonight in Knoxville. Georgiadogs.com will have live video coverage as well as live stats beginning at kickoff.