UNCG closes nonconference play with 4-1 loss to Georgia
For video of UNCG coach Steve Nugent's postgame comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia struck for three first-half goals and added a fourth late in the contest as the Bulldogs downed UNCG 4-1 in Spartan coach Steve Nugent's first game against his former squad.
Nugent, in his first year at the helm for UNCG (1-6), was an assistant for the Bulldogs (6-2) from 2007-10.
"Tonight was a little different than games we've lost this early season," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said. "Tonight we made some untimely mistakes, some very uncharacteristic mistakes defensively. You can't do that against athletic teams that play in big conferences. They'll punish you, and they did tonight."
Georgia struck first in the contest, with Ashley Miller scoring her third goal of the season in the eighth minute to put the Spartans down early. Jenna Owens picked up her team-best fourth assist of the season on the play, as, with her back to the goal inside the 18-yard box, she found Miller charging in for the strike.
Madeline Barker made it 2-0 in Georgia's favor in the 22nd minute, taking an Alexa Newfield pass and banking it in off the right post.
UNCG answered immediately, however, with Jaimey Etten getting the goal back just 17 seconds later to make it 2-1. Kristin Player got the play started with a pass to Lauren Hein, who served a cross in from the left wing for Etten. Etten nodded it home past Georgia keeper Ashley Baker for her first goal of the season.
Torri Allen pushed the Bulldogs' lead back to two goals just before halftime, taking a thru ball from Meghan Gibbons in the midfield and sneaking in a shot near post to make it 3-1 in the 40th minute.
With neither team able to score for the majority of the second frame, Georgia finally broke through in the 82nd minute to put the game away. Gibbon picked up her second assist of the evening on the goal, making a long run down the left side of the field and dishing the ball off to Susannah Dennis, who put it away for her first goal of the season.
Despite only taking five shots on the night, UNCG had plenty of chances in Georgia's offensive third but often came up just one pass shy of an open attempt.
In just the second minute of action, freshman Karina Rodriguez nearly put the Spartans on top. Hein found her with a pass from the left wing, and Rodriguez lined up a wide-open attempt from about 12 yards out. Her attempt went just high, however.
In the second frame, Player and sophomore Ashlee Wilhelmsen both had solid chances but couldn't get shots off. Early in the half, Player found herself all alone on a breakaway, but Georgia's defense quickly recovered to keep the redshirt senior from getting off an attempt. Later, Player sent in a nice cross from the right wing that found Wilhelmsen inside the 18, but the Bulldog defense quickly swarmed Wilhelmsen and was able to clear the ball without a real threat.
UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney made five saves on the evening, including an outstanding leaping save on a Newfield attempt in the 59th minute.
Spartan defender Casey Godwin also came up with a timely team save, clearing a Jamie Pollock shot off the line in the 49th minute.
Baker had two saves for the Bulldogs.
With nonconference play in the books, UNCG has faced what has to be one of the toughest schedules in the country thus far with four games against Atlantic Coast Conference teams and two against Southeastern Conference teams. Four of the six games UNCG has lost have been to ranked opponents.
"I feel great about our team," Nugent said. "I love what's going on in our locker room. We're 1-6. We know what the conference means to us. We know what every game in the conference means to us. These players are passionate about UNCG soccer, and when Chattanooga comes to town Friday, they'd better be ready for a war."
The Spartans open Southern Conference play against Chattanooga on Friday, Sept. 23, at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The contest begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
Georgia 4, UNCG 1
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Georgia............. 3 1 - 4
UNCG................ 1 0 - 1
1. 7:36 UG Ashley Miller (3) (Jenna Owens)
2. 21:11 UG Madeline Barker (3) (Alexa Newfield)
3. 21:28 UNCG Jaimey Etten (1) (Kristin Player;Lauren Hein)
4. 39:40 UG Torri Allen (1) (Meghan Gibbons)
5. 81:42 UG Susannah Dennis (1) (Meghan Gibbons)
Shots: Georgia 19, UNCG 5; Saves: Georgia 2 (Ashley Baker 2), UNCG 6 (Kelsey Kearney 5; TEAM 1); Corner kicks: Georgia 5, UNCG 5; Fouls: Georgia 12, UNCG 12; Cautions: Tori Cooper (Georgia, yellow, 88:46).
- UNCG -