Athens, Ga. – In a match-up of top-25 teams, the No. 16 Georgia Bulldogs used a pair of second half goals to upend No. 17 Minnesota this evening (Aug. 28) at the Turner Soccer Complex.
“We weren’t our best self tonight,” head coach Mikki Denney Wright said. “But give Georgia a lot of credit, they did a great job of keeping us out of our rhythm in the match.”
It was a defensive battle throughout, and a scoreless first half saw Georgia (2-0-0) match Minnesota (1-1-0) with just three shots each. However, after going into the locker rooms with zeros still on the board, the Bulldogs stuck quickly in the second half.
Less than a minute in, Georgia’s Rebekah Perry managed to lift the ball over Minnesota goalkeeper Cat Parkhill (Apple Valley, Minn.) to break the scoreless tie at the 45:38 mark of the match. The goal was the first allowed in her career by Parkhill, after registering the shutout in her first match last week.
The scoring went dead again, as nearly 30 more minutes ticked off the clock before someone got back on the board. When they did, it was again the Bulldogs, adding some late insurance to their lead. At the 72:32 mark, a pair of quick passes found Marah Falle who was able to finish the play and put her team ahead 2-0.
Georgia held an 8-to-5 advantage in shots in the match, outshooting Minnesota 5-to-2 in the second half. Of their five shots, the Golden Gophers landed two shots on goal, but both were stopped by Bulldog netminder Michelle Betos. The Bulldogs only landed three of their eight shots on the goal, but were able to make the most of their chances, with two finding the back of the net.
The loss snaps the Golden Gophers 13-match unbeaten streak in the regular season non-conference matches. Their last such loss came against Dayton on Sept. 14, 2007.
It also breaks a five-match winning streak in the regular season, as Minnesota closed out 2008 with four consecutive wins heading into the postseason, and won in the opener this year. On the offensive end for the Golden Gophers, Shari Eckstrom (Champlin Park, Minn.) led the way, tying a career high by firing off three shots, including one on goal.
Minnesota will have a chance to get back on track soon, as they make the short trip to Kennesaw State for a 1:00 p.m. match-up on Sunday, Aug. 30. “We have a young team, that I think learned a lot,” Denney Wright said. “We’re getting there, and we’ll use this to get better. I have confidence that this team will rise to the challenge.”
Kennesaw State is also 1-1-0 on the season, after beating Francis Marion 2-1 this evening.