Lawrence, KS - The Georgia soccer team suffered its first loss of 2012 in its first road game of the season, falling 1-0 to host Kansas in KU Invitational action Friday night at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex in Lawrence.
Georgia surrendered the go-ahead goal in the 22nd minute and would be unable to answer as the Bulldogs’ record slipped to 2-1 on the early season. Kansas improves to 2-1 with the win.
“Kansas is a very good team,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “They’re very well-coached, very organized. It was a great battle out there tonight. I thought last weekend we didn’t play particularly well but got two wins, and tonight we battled incredibly hard from start to finish. If we get that performance from our team every night we’re going to win a lot of games. We’re obviously disappointed with the loss, but at the end of the day we can walk away with our heads held high.”
The Jayhawks’ goal came with 22:59 on the clock in the first half on a loose ball in front that was finished up by KU’s Caroline Kastor into the bottom left corner past keeper Ashley Baker.
The Bulldogs had their chances at the equalizer in the first, including a play where Alexa Newfield fired in a cross that Meghan Gibbons got a head on but sailed just wide. With 18 minutes left in the first, Susannah Dennis placed a header on frame after a Nicole Locandro free kick, but it was pulled in by Kansas goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau.
At halftime shots were even at 6-6 with Georgia still searching for their first tally. The Bulldogs continued to keep the pressure on as the second half got underway, but the Kansas defense – anchored by center back Madi Hillis – was able to keep the Bulldogs at bay and guard the lead on their home field.
With 18 minutes to go in the contest, Newfield had a great shot that set up a UGA corner kick chance and another one just after it, but Georgia couldn’t find the finish.
Then with six minutes remaining Nikki Hill had a long free kick go in to Dennis, whose touch on it went wide. And with under two minutes to go and Georgia scrambling for the equalizer, Newfield fired a rocket at the top right that the keeper punched out to set up a corner, but Georgia couldn’t convert on it.
The final score went 1-0 in favor of Kansas, with shots 11-9 in KU’s favor. Liebetrau finished with three saves for the Jayhawks while Baker stopped two for Georgia. Newfield led the Bulldogs’ offense with three shots on the night, with sophomore Tori Cooper adding three off the bench.
This marked Georgia’s first loss to Kansas in history, now with an all-time record of 3-1 vs. KU and 6-4-1 all-time vs. Big 12 foes.
The Bulldogs will be back in action in Lawrence on Sunday, taking on South Dakota State in neutral-site action beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Live audio and the live blog will be running on Georgiadogs.com beginning just before kickoff.