College Sports | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

No. 20 Bulldogs Meet Crimson Tide Thursday

By: UGA Sports Communications
By: UGA Sports Communications

Athens, GA - The No. 20 Georgia soccer team will travel for a rare Thursday night match-up, meeting the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-5-2, 3-3-2) Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. ET at the Alabama Soccer Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Georgia stands at 9-3-4 (4-1-3) on the season following a split at a pair of top-15 opponents and Eastern Division rivals in South Carolina and Florida last weekend.

Kevin Copp will be on the call with live audio, while live stats for the Alabama game will be available on the schedule page on Georgiadogs.com.

LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia soccer team got a goal from Laura Eddy in the 12th minute, but a pair of scores by Erika Tymrak - including the game-winner seven minutes into overtime - pushed 13th-ranked Florida to a 2-1 decision over the No. 20 Bulldogs at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., on Oct. 17.

Georgia played extra time for the seventh time this season, suffering their second overtime loss and their first SEC loss of the season as the Bulldogs were standing as the final unbeaten squad in league play entering Sunday. It was Georgia’s first loss in eight meetings dating back to Stanford on Sept. 10, also an overtime decision. That string was the longest unbeaten run for the Bulldogs since winning or tying nine in a row from Sept. 16-Oct.14, 2007. The 2007 season saw Georgia set a program-record for wins with 18.

The weekend ended as a split for the Dogs, who earned a 1-0 victory over No. 14 South Carolina on Friday night in Columbia, S.C. The Bulldogs were lifted by freshman Alexa Newfield’s goal just 3:09 in on Friday, and it proved to be the game-winner as the SEC East rivals played nearly 87 minutes of scoreless ball after that.

LOOKING AT ALABAMA: The Crimson Tide enter Thursday’s game tied for second place in the SEC West with 11 points and a 3-3-2 record. The Tide is on a three-game losing streak following losses to South Carolina, Kentucky, and most recently Vanderbilt, a 2-0 deficit Sunday to the Commodores in Nashville.

Alabama’s scoring has come from only six players, paced by Brooke Rogers’ seven goals to sit her with 14 points on the season, a team-high. Victoria Frederick is next in the category with three goals and six assists for 12 total points. Keeper Justine Bernier leads the way with 11 starts while two other keepers have seen game action. Bernier has a record of 6-3-2 with five shutouts, putting up a stat line of 64 saves, 10 goals against (0.87 gaa), and a save percentage of 0.865 in 1,030 minutes.

Georgia holds a 10-3 edge in the series with the Crimson Tide, including a tear of five straight wins capped with last season’s 3-0 victory in Athens Oct. 22. The last time the teams played in Tuscaloosa, Georgia earned a 2-0 decision back in 2008. The series leans 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs at Alabama.

Georgia’s last loss to Alabama was in 2004.

SEC STANDINGS: With a key win over South Carolina on Friday, Georgia picked up three big SEC points to move to third place in the Eastern Division standings and overall now with 15 points. Florida and the Gamecocks are locked atop the East with 19 each. Tennessee is in fourth with 13, followed by Vanderbilt (11) and Kentucky (8).

The West is currently led by LSU (12), followed by Auburn and Alabama knotted with 11 each, Arkansas (8), Ole Miss (6), and Mississippi State (0).

Georgia has finished with 7+ conference wins for three straight seasons before this one.

The 2010 SEC Championships is set for Nov. 3-7 in Orange Beach, Ala., which is comprised of the top eight teams in the conference regardless of division. Teams get three points for a win in conference and one for a tie.

IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY: ... Freshman Alexa Newfield would be just seven shots shy of the Georgia single-season record of 76 set in 1998 by Mandy Aiken ... keeper Ashley Baker would be in second all-time in goals-against average with a total of 0.64, behind only Lauren Church’s mark of 0.59 in 2005 ... Georgia would be the third seed on the “Road to Orange Beach,” slated to take on sixth-seeded Vanderbilt ... the Bulldogs’ goal differential of +18 (29-11) would be third best in the SEC behind only Florida (+27) and South Carolina (+24).

GEORGIA IN THE NCAA: As a team, the Bulldogs stack up in several of the national statistical categories. Through 16 games, Georgia is 11th in save percentage (.880), 23rd in goals-against average (.638), and tied for 30th in shutout percentage (.500).

GEORGIA IN THE RPI: Following the South Carolina win and a tough one in Gainesville, Georgia was No. 43 in the third RPI release announced Oct. 19.

The Bulldogs were ranked No. 55 in the first ratings percentage index (RPI) released by the NCAA on Oct. 5 and No. 56 in week two Oct. 12.

The RPI is the most important criteria used by the NCAA to determine the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament, comparing results and strength of schedule.

Additional RPI rankings will be tabulated on Oct. 26 and Nov. 7 in addition to the final tally announced Dec. 7 following the College Cup.

IN THE RANKINGS: The week of Oct. 18 marked the first time this season in which the Georgia soccer team was ranked in all four of the major women’s collegiate soccer polls. The Bulldogs remained No. 20 in the Soccer Times weekly rankings, while coming in at No. 25 in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com poll and breaking in for the first time to the Soccer America poll at No. 25. Georgia was No. 31 in this week’s Top Drawer Soccer poll out of 64, as that ranking reflects a mock NCAA Tournament field.

KEEPING IT OUT OF THE NET: The Bulldogs have given up only 11 goals all season and have posted eight shutouts.

Heading up to the first Florida goal on Sunday, Ashley Baker had gone four+ games without giving up a goal, totaling 561:08 of scoreless soccer in goal for Georgia. That streak was good for the longest SEC scoreless run in school history and second longest overall behind Nicole Williams’ eight-game shutout streak in 1999.

Georgia has allowed only three goals in SEC play with three remaining. The Bulldogs have never allowed fewer than eight goals in the conference slate.

Baker’s performance vs. Ole Miss and MSU two weeks ago earned the keeper her first ever SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

BAKER STACKING UP: Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Baker has been lights out in goal for Georgia this season, and even more so in SEC games.

The Lilburn, Ga., native ranks first in the conference in save percentage (.879), tied for first in shutouts (8), third in goals against average (0.64), fourth in saves (80), and fifth in saves per game (5.00).

In league play, Baker sits atop four different goalkeeping statistical categories, including GAA (0.34), save percentage (.919), shutouts (6), and shutouts per game (0.75), as Georgia has only allowed goals in two conference games.

In the NCAA standings, Baker is 13th in save percentage and 25th in goals-against average.

EXTRA TIME: After not playing a single overtime game all season in 2009, Georgia has played seven already in 2010, just one shy of the program record eight played in 2002. The Bulldogs are 1-2-4 in OT games this season, most recently falling 2-1 in the first extra period to the Florida Gators Oct. 17 in Gainesville, Fla.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: The Georgia soccer incoming class of 14 was highly touted all offseason, and the group has not disappointed. Through 16 games in 2010, the freshmen have scored 16 of 29 goals (55%), while adding 15 of 29 assists (52%) for 47 of 87 total points (54%). The frosh have logged five of nine game-winners in 2010.

The biggest testament to the strength of the class was the Bulldogs’ two-week sweep of the SEC Freshman of the Week honors. The first two weekly awards went to Newfield and Locandro, respectively, on Aug. 30 and Sept. 6.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Bulldogs return home for their final regular-season game at the UGA Soccer Stadium when they host Auburn on Sun., Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. ET in a game televised on FSN. The Auburn game will serve as Senior Day for the program’s six seniors. The regular-season finale comes Oct. 29 on the road in Knoxville as the Bulldogs take on Tennessee at 7 p.m.


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