Athens, GA - The Georgia soccer team fell behind at home for the first time since Aug. 20 but came back to tie and that’s where it remained as No. 17 Georgia and Kentucky battled to a 1-1 tie Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
It was Georgia’s second overtime game in a row and fifth of the year as the Bulldogs now sit at 6-2-3 (1-0-2) on the year. The Wildcats are now 6-4-1 (0-2-1).
“Every time we step on the field we feel like we are good enough to get a win,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “To get a tie, we just aren’t satisfied with that. I thought we played well tonight. Kentucky had a great game-plan and they defended very well. Their keeper came up with some big saves. We got in behind them a couple of times, but they were solid in the back.”
With 34:24 on the clock in the first half the Bulldogs allowed just their second goal to Kentucky since 2003, when leading-scorer Kelsey Hunyadi took a feed from Caitlin Landis and sent it past keeper Ashley Baker into the bottom left corner to give the Wildcats the early lead. It was the first time Georgia trailed at home since the Duke game.
Georgia’s biggest chance to tie to that point came when freshman Alexa Newfield sent a Carli Shultis cross wide right with 7:20 left in the opening period as Kentucky held onto its lead.
But with six and a half minutes to go before the break, Newfield made up for it when she followed a rebound up with a hard strike from the top of the box past keeper Sydney Hiance for the equalizer. The goal was an all-freshman score as Shultis started the play with a cross from the right and Nicole Locandro tapped it off to Newfield for the shot. Both Shultis and Locandro were credited with assists on the play while Newfield picked up her third goal of the season to knot it at 1-1.
“They had a good game-plan against [Newfield] with a lot of pressure on her with a good athletic defender,” Holeman said. “We moved her to attacking center mid and she did some damage. She created some opportunities for herself, and what a great finish she had. With the exception of her goal, Kentucky’s goalkeeper saved everything else."
Both defenses played to strong first halves and shots were limited on both ends, with the Bulldogs holding a 5-2 lead in that category heading into the locker room.
With under 40 minutes on the clock in the second, midfielder Laura Eddy had a look clang off the woodwork and bounce out of danger. With 25 to play, Locandro sent Hiance diving on a long-ranger from the right that set up a Georgia corner but it would not lead to a Georgia chance.
With the clock nearing 19 minutes in the second, Baker was beat off her line and Landis broke free on the right, sending the ball towards the unguarded net. But freshman defender Torri Allen blocked it in the middle to prevent what seemed like a sure Wildcat goal. Neither team could find the go-ahead through the first 90:00 and the SEC East rivals were headed for extra time with the Bulldogs still leading in shots, 12-8.
With just a minute elapsed in OT, Traci Dreesen sent a cross over to Newfield whose shot went high from her spot on the left wing. The Bulldogs earned two corners just minutes in and Jamie Pollock got a head on one, but it was blocked by the defense as the score stayed the same.
Landis had two shots fired in from the right wing late in the second overtime but Baker controlled both of them as the first-half score stood up and the teams were forced to settle for a tie on the first day of October and the second weekend of conference play.
Shots ended 15-11 in Georgia’s favor, while Hiance narrowly edged Baker in saves, 6-5. The Bulldogs lead in corners, 9-6. Georgia is now 10-4-3 all-time against Kentucky but saw its four-game winning streak snapped tonight.
The Georgia team will wrap up its five-game homestand two days from now, welcoming Vanderbilt to Athens for Sunday’s showdown. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with a 3:05 p.m. kickoff. Live audio will be available on Georgiadogs.com in addition to live statistics. The Commodores dropped a 1-0 decision to Tennessee this evening in Knoxville, which puts them at 4-6-1 (0-2-1) heading to the Classic City.