Athens, GA - The Georgia soccer team will open the home portion of the 2011 season this weekend, hosting a pair of out-of-conference opponents at the UGA Soccer Stadium. The Bulldogs (1-0) host Texas (1-1) on Fri., Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. before taking on Villanova (1-0-1) on Sun., Aug. 28 at 1 p.m.
Georgia will be facing each of this weekend’s foes for the first time in history. The Bulldogs dropped the 2010 home opener by a tight 1-0 margin to Duke.
Both games will feature live video coverage on Georgiadogs.com in addition to radio coverage on 1340 WGAU. A live blog and live stats can also be accessed on Georgiadogs.com for both contests. The first 300 fans at the Friday night game will receive “Soccer City, UGA” T-shirts. Admission is free.
“Athens has one of the greatest crowds in the country – we’re anticipating 2,000 or 3,000 people Friday night,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “It’ll be a tremendous atmosphere and the girls are excited ot be back at home to show what they can do.”
“[The message this week] has been to continue to work hard and become better every day,” Holeman said. “Texas is going to put us under some pressure Friday night – they are a great team and they’re going to be very organized. We need to just continue to get better.”
LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia soccer team kicked off the 2011 season with a 3-1 win over Furman last Friday evening at Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, S.C.
Jamie Pollock, Madeline Barker, and Nicole Locandro scored the Bulldog goals while the Georgia defense kept the Paladins without a shot throughout the entirety of the first half and limited to just five overall. Georgia improved to 12-2-2 all-time in season openers with the win.
The Bulldogs ended the opener leading in shots 18-5, taking eight corners.
LOOKING AT THE LONGHORNS: Texas enters the weekend at 1-1 on the early season, coming off a 3-1 loss to Loyola Marymount in the opener and a 3-0 win over in-state rival Houston three days later.
Texas, like UGA, went 11-6-4 last season, falling to James Madison in NCAA first round action to mark the Longhorns’ ninth tournament appearance. UT brought back 13 players from the 2010 squad including seven starters, returning 77 percent of its scoring from a year ago. The squad returns four All-Big 12 selections from 2010 including starting keeper Alexa Gaul, who was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List before leading the league in goals against average (0.65) and save percentage (.868) and tied for first in goals allowed (seven) and shutouts (five).
Texas is led by 12th-year head coach Chris Petrucelli, who currently ranks eighth in all-time Division I women’s soccer coaching wins (309) and seventh in winning percentage (.764).
LOOKING AT THE WILDCATS: Villanova will head to Athens Sunday after taking on Georgia State Friday night in Atlanta on its journey through the Peach State. The Wildcats, out of the Big East, stand at 1-0-1 so far after playing James Madison to a 1-1 draw in the opener and defeating Philadelphia area rival Saint Joseph’s by a 2-1 score.
Villanova returns 15 players from a 2010 squad that went 7-12 on the year, highlighted by senior forward Katie Ryan who landed on the Preseason All-Big East squad.
The Wildcats are coached by John Byford in his fourth season at the helm.
BULLDOGS IN THE MEDIA: Three Georgia soccer games will be televised in 2011, including one carried nationally, the Southeastern Conference office announced July 25.
Georgia’s Oct. 16 contest on the road at Kentucky will air on ESPNU at 4 p.m. ET. Additionally, the Sept. 30 game at Arkansas will be broadcast on Fox Sports South at 8 p.m. and the Oct. 23 game at home vs. Alabama will air on CSS at 2 p.m. A total of 14 SEC games will enjoy television coverage this season.
Additionally, 2011 marks the first season that Georgia soccer games will be broadcast live on local radio stations 960 WRFC and 1340 WGAU in addition to regular video or audio coverage from GTV. The full coverage schedule can be accessed on georgiadogs.com.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Bulldogs will take to the road next weekend, traveling to Minneapolis, Minn., for meetings with the host Golden Gophers as well as Iowa State on a Friday-Sunday swing in the Midwest.