Lawrence, KS - The Georgia soccer team scored five goals in a game for the first time since 2010 in coming away with a weekend split in the Kansas Invitational, defeating South Dakota State by a 5-0 score Sunday afternoon at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex in Lawrence, Kan.
Georgia’s scoring barrage included three goals within five minutes in the second half – and two from Bella Hartley – as the Bulldogs move to 3-1 on the season. The Jackrabbits slip to 1-2-1 on the year with today’s setback.
“This was obviously uplifting for us,” Hartley said. “The first half was a little hectic and we didn’t score a lot even though we had 14 shots. In the second half we came out and got more, and put them away. This is a great confidence builder for us.”
“We needed that, without question,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “We weren’t pleased with our first half performance but we made some adjustments and were more efficient after halftime. We scored some great goals today.”
The Bulldogs got on the board just four minutes into the game as senior midfielder Susannah Dennis was fed a ball inside from Carli Shultis on the right wing. Dennis settled and fired one on frame, and Madeline Barker was on the other end to tap it past the keeper for the early 1-0 lead, her first of the season, with Dennis getting the assist.
Georgia was in control for the rest of the first half but couldn’t add another tally despite outshooting SDSU by a count of 14-0 through the first 45:00.
The Bulldogs continued where they left off early on in the second half, earning three early corners after the break but couldn’t find the goal off the set pieces. But Georgia’s constant pressure on the Jackrabbits was finally rewarded in the 53rd minute, when Hartley turned and fired one into the top right corner of the goal nearly identical to her tally vs. Furman last weekend. That gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead on her second of the year and her career.
Just over three minutes later, Jenna Owens took advantage of her good position in front as she tapped one past the keeper for Georgia’s third of the day. Assists went to Barker and Shultis on the play as they set up Owens for her first of the season making it 3-0. And two minutes after that, Hartley again showed her range as she fired one in from the right side off a pass from Owens to make it 4-0. It was Hartley’s team-leading third goal of the season as Georgia capped its three-goals-in-five-minutes outpouring to take the commanding lead.
Later in the half, Georgia’s Jenna Buckley fouled a Jackrabbits player on a breakaway chance, and was given the automatic red card as the last defender in the play – leaving the Bulldogs to play with just 10 players for the final 27 minutes.
The Bulldogs weren’t finished on offense after that despite playing a man down, as freshman defender Emma Sonnett stepped in to take a free kick on the right side and placed it perfectly just under the crossbar and over the keeper’s hands to make the score 5-0 with 11 to play. It was Sonnett’s first career goal.
The Bulldog defense – anchored by the keeper Woody – buckled down at the end to preserve the shutout, as Woody finished with three saves on five SDSU shots in collecting her first blank sheet in her first career start in goal. The stat line finished with Georgia outshooting the Jacks 23-5 and awarded 10 corners to South Dakota State’s five in the winning effort.
Today marked the first time since 2010 vs. Georgia State that the Bulldogs scored five goals in a game. The squad scored four goals three times last seasons. It was Georgia’s first ever meeting vs. SDSU or any Summit League team, now with the 1-0 mark in the series.
The Bulldogs are next in action next weekend, staying on the road and heading to Orlando, Fla., to meet South Florida and host Central Florida in the UCF Invitational on Friday and Sunday.