Locandro Scores Twice, Bulldogs Tie LSU

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Athens, GA - The Georgia soccer team played another wild one on Sunday afternoon, firing a season-high 35 shots in Sunday afternoon’s 2-2 tie with LSU at the UGA Soccer Stadium in front of an ESPNU national audience.

The Bulldogs and Tigers battled steady rains throughout the afternoon, which picked up toward the end of the match before ending knotted at 2-2. Georgia moves to 5-6-2 on the season and 1-3-2 in conference play, while LSU is now 5-4-4 (1-3-2).

The Bulldogs got both goals from junior midfielder Nicole Locandro – her first two of the season – in a two-minute span in the second half to go up 2-1, before LSU responded with the equalizer in the 84th minute. Neither team could mount the game-winner in 20 minutes of extra time.

The Bulldogs also had two goals brought back due to offsides calls in the second half.

“Another crazy SEC game,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “Give LSU credit – they took the lead, then we came back, then they equalized. We took 35 shots today. We have some winnable games ahead of us, and I think we’ve proven this weekend that we’re a pretty good team. We just need to go out and get some wins.”

Georgia immediately showed it was the stronger offensive side right out of the gate, and though the teams ended the first half scoreless, the Bulldogs led in the shot column 10-3 through the first 45:00.

Despite the Bulldogs owning the momentum, it was the Tigers who broke through first, as LSU’s Alex Arlitt got her team on the board in the 57th minute when she took a pass from Colby Maffei from the left side and fired it past keeper Ashley Baker for the 1-0 lead.

Georgia nearly had the tying goal minutes later when Carli Shultis’ shot was blocked to set up Tori Cooper for the rebound, but Cooper was called offside after tapping it in past LSU netminder Megan Kinneman and the visitors would hold onto their lead.

With 25 minutes showing in the second half the Bulldogs turned on the jets, firing Kinneman with shots from all over the final third from all of their personnel, but the keeper answered the call.

Then with 17:30 to play in the second, Chika Ibiam appeared to again have found the equalizer for Georgia as she converted on a dish from Cooper in front, but she too was barely flagged for offsides to cancel it out.

But Locandro’s goal in the 79th minute would stand, as the junior had just moved positions to the attack and followed up on a Shultis missed shot, putting in the rebound for her first of the season to make it 1-1.

Then just over two minutes later, Shultis was taken down in the box to give Georgia the penalty kick and a chance at the go-ahead with under 10 left, and Locandro sent it in past Kinneman to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the day.

But LSU wasn’t finished, and with just over six minutes on the clock Maffei fired a shot past Baker after two other LSU shots were blocked, finishing on the scramble in front to even it once again at 2-2.

The Bulldogs and Tigers were then bound for overtime, where with 6:30 to go in the first Locandro had a chance saved after she received a set-up from Liliana Rios. With four remaining, Susannah Dennis was fed by Locandro, and Dennis’ shot on the breakaway on the left side hit the side panel of the net for a Tiger goal kick.

In the second overtime, LSU managed three shots before the Bulldogs had their best opportunity when Bella Hartley’s long-range look with 20 seconds to go sailed wide, and the teams finished tied at 2-2 to pick up one point apiece in the SEC standings.

Today’s 35-shot offensive showing marked Georgia’s most of the season, while that is the most in an SEC game for the Bulldogs since firing 42 on Oct. 7, 2011 vs. Mississippi State.

Cooper’s 11 shots today was a new career-best for the sophomore. Shots finished 35-17 in favor of the Bulldogs, with Georgia taking eight corners to LSU’s three.

Georgia is next in action next weekend as the squad hits the road to take on Ole Miss and South Carolina, respectively.

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