UNCG (2-0-0) vs. Utah (0-3-0), Aug. 29, 11 a.m., Athens, Ga., Georgia Nike Invitational
LiveStats: GameTracker (via GeorgiaDogs.com)
- UNCG's women's soccer team seeks the first 3-0 start in school history Sunday when it faces Utah at the Georgia Nike Invitational in Athens, Ga., on Sunday.
- The Spartans and Utes have met just once, with Utah taking a 2-1 win over UNCG in double overtime in Greensboro on Aug. 24, 2008. Katie Martinez got Utah on the board in the 17th minute, but UNCG countered with a Kristin Player goal just before halftime to tie the score at 1. There it remained until the 103rd minute, when Utah's Kelly Isleib scored from the top of the 18-yard box for the golden goal.
- Despite its storied history, UNCG has never opened a season with three straight wins. Most of that has to do with the brutal nonconference slate the Spartans play each year. In 23 seasons of UNCG women's soccer (including 2010), the Spartans have played at least one team from one of the six major conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC) within the first three games in 18 of those seasons. UNCG has held its own in those contests, however, posting an 11-19 record against those schools in the first three games of the year.
- UNCG knocked off No. 10 Wake Forest on Monday, getting first-half goals from Lauren Hein and Jenn Partenheimer and holding on for a 2-1 win. Both of UNCG's goals came off of set pieces. The first came in the 11th minute, when freshman Kory Spotts played a short corner to Cat Barnekow, who crossed the ball in to Hein, who nodded the ball home. The second was a world-class strike in the 29th minute. On an indirect free kick from about 25 yards out, Hein tapped the ball back to Partenheimer, who popped the ball up with her right foot, then sent a looping volley far post for what would prove to be the game-winner. Kelsey Kearney fell just seven minutes shy of the shutout, losing it when the Demon Deacons converted a penalty kick in the 83rd minute.
- The Spartans opened their season with a 2-0 win over East Carolina on Aug. 20. Reigning Southern Conference Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Tabitha Padgett scored the game-winner, notching her first goal of the season in the 15th minute. Spotts added her first career goal later in the half, heading home a Jaimey Etten corner kick in the 33rd minute. Kearney turned away five shots to earn the shutout.
- On the season, Hein and Spotts lead UNCG with three points each, on a goal and assist each. Padgett and Partenheimer have a goal each for two points apiece. Kearney has played all 180 minutes in goal, posting a goals against average of 0.50.
- Kearney's shutout against ECU was the 20th of her career, moving her into a tie for third on UNCG's career list with Paula Domitrovits (1995-98). Kearney, a junior, now trails school-record holder Jennifer Stillman by five. Kearney is also UNCG's career leader in GAA, as she holds a mark of 0.64 in 40 matches played.
- Utah has faced a difficult schedule so far on the season. The Utes opened the season at Washington State's Cougar Classic, falling 2-1 to Gonzaga on Aug. 20 and 1-0 to No. 18 Washington State two days later. Utah also dropped a 3-0 decision to Georgia on Friday at the Georgia Nike Invitational. The Bulldogs scored three second-half goals, including a pair just 46 seconds apart in the 78th minute.
- Junior Erin Dalley has Utah's lone goal on the season, while freshman Lexi Krantz has the Utes' lone assist. Dalley leads the team with nine shots on the season. Junior Hannah Turpen has played all 270 minutes in goal for Utah, allowing six goals, good for a 2.00 GAA.
- Utah went 10-9-2 overall in 2009, posting a 5-2-1 record to finish third in the Mountain West. The Utes advanced to the semifinals of the MWC tournament, falling to San Diego State in double overtime, 1-0.
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