Athens, GA - The Georgia soccer team is back on the road this weekend, heading to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the UCF Tournament on the campus of Central Florida. The Bulldogs will take on South Florida in neutral-site action on Fri., Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. before taking on the host UCF Knights on Sun., Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m.
Georgia will offer live audio coverage for both contests on Georgiadogs.com with commentary from Kevin Copp beginning just prior to kickoff. The Georgia Soccer Live Blog will also be up and running in addititon to live scoring.
Last Time Out: Georgia Soccer went 1-1 on its weekend in the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan., falling by a slim 1-0 margin to the host Jayhawks on Friday night before rebounding with their largest scoring output since Sept. 2010, defeating South Dakota State 5-0 Sunday to pick up the split. Redshirt freshman Bella Hartley scored two goals to lead the way vs. SDSU, while redshirt sophomore Caitlin Woody picked up the shutout in her first career start in goal. Georgia improves to 3-1 on the season.
After the weekend it was announced that Hartley as well as defenders Rebekah Perry and Torri Allen were named to the KU Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Looking at the Bulls: South Florida is 2-1 entering this weekend’s tournament, losing to UCF and defeating Miami in a weekend of in-state showdowns two weeks ago before defeating Indiana 3-0 last time out.
The team has been led in the early-going by freshman goalkeeper Christiane Endler’s 13 saves and two shutouts, while junior forward Sharla Passariello has three goals in three games including two in the Indiana win.
Series History, Georgia vs. South Florida: Georgia and USF have played just once in their histories, with Georgia winning it 3-0 back onb Sept. 9, 2007. The Bulldogs got goals from Lindsay Stein, Caroline Simpson, and Marah Falle that day.
Georgia is 5-4 all-time vs. the Big East, with that win over South Florida serving as UGA’s last win over the conference. Georgia last played a Big East time last season, falling 3-2 to Villanova in Athens.
Looking at the Knights: UCF is ranked No. 9 in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire ranking, entering at 3-1. The Knights most recently downed Miami 1-0 on a goal for senior forward Nicolette Radovcic, while the team already has wins over USF and Florida Gulf Coast this season. The team’s lone loss came to No. 1-ranked Florida by a 1-0 score.
Radovcic and Jennifer Martin each have two goals to lead the way so far for UCF. The squad reached the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight last year, their best finish since 1987.
Series History, Georgia vs. Central Florida: Georgia is 2-0 all-time vs. Central Florida, though the teams haven’t met since 1998. Georgia won back-to-back games over the Knights in both 1997-98, and the Bulldogs are 5-1 all-time vs. Conference USA opponents. Georgia last faced a CUSA team in 2003, when it beat both Rice and Houston.
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.
Eyes on Newfield: Junior midfielder/forward Alexa Newfield will be one to watch in 2012, as the returning All-SEC and NSCAA All-South Region first team selection is back from a 2011 season in which she broke the Georgia school record for shots (102) and points (40) in a single season. She entered 2012 ranked second at UGA in career shots with 189, as well as fourth all-time in points (60), and fifth in goals (24).
Newfield led the Bulldogs in both goals (16) and assists (eight) last season as a sophomore, and ranked atop all the major offensive categories in the SEC in 2011, including goals (16), goals per game (0.73), shots (102), shots per game (4.64), points (40), points per game (1.82), and game-winning goals (7).
In opening weekend she lifted Georgia to the double overtime win over UNC Greensboro, converting on a penalty kick.
Bulldogs Ranked No. 27 in NCAA Projection: The Georgia soccer team comes in at No. 27 this week in the Top Drawer Soccer “Tournament 64” rankings, after starting No. 25 in the preseason edition and moving to No. 24 in week two.
The rankings are a season-long attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth. Florida State, Stanford, Duke, UCLA, and Oklahoma State make up this week’s top 5.
Georgia is one of six Southeastern Conference programs included in the latest projected tournament field, joining eighth-ranked Texas A&M, No. 16 Florida, No. 26 LSU, No. 35 Tennessee, and No. 38 South Carolina. The SEC sent eight teams to last season’s NCAA Tournament, which ranked second-most among any conference in the nation behind only the ACC’s nine.
Updated projections will be released every Monday during the season, and differ from traditional “top 25” rankings.
Milestone Nearing For Holeman: Georgia head coach Steve Holeman needs just eight more wins to secure the 200th of his career. He entered the season at 189-137-37 overall in 18 seasons at Auburn, Ole Miss, and Georgia and now sits with 192 career victories.
That ranks him tied for 46th all-time in career victories among active Division I coaches, and seventh in the SEC.
Next Up: Georgia returns from its four-game road swing to welcome New Mexico to the UGA Soccer Stadium next Friday, Sept. 7 for a 7 p.m. meeting. The Bulldogs are then off for the remainder of the weekend before opening SEC play the following weekend with Vanderbilt and Arkansas coming to Athens Sept. 14-16.