The Georgia soccer team used a 2-0 win over No. 17 South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference opener to post the first eight-game winning streak in program history on Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium.
The Bulldogs earned the historic win in front of a crowd of 2,452 — the fifth-largest crowd all-time.
Georgia (8-1-0, 1-0-0) handed the visiting Gamecocks (7-1-1, 0-1-0) their first loss of the 2013 season, while tonight’s victory marked the Bulldogs’ highest-ranked win since beating then-No. 5 South Carolina on Oct. 16, 2009. It was the seventh shutout of the season for UGA.
The 2013 Bulldogs have tied the program’s best start through nine games with both the 1997 and 2007 squads, which were both also 8-1.
The Bulldogs didn’t waste much time before getting on the board, as freshman forward and reigning SEC Freshman of the Week honoree Marion Crowder took a hard cross inside from senior Madeline Barker and fired it past South Carolina keeper Sabrina D’Angelo in the eighth minute to give Georgia the early 1-0 lead. The goal was Crowder’s seventh of the season, moving her into fourth place all-time in the Georgia record book for goals by a rookie. It was just the second goal of the 2013 season allowed by the Gamecocks and first since Sept. 6. Barker was credited with the assist – her second of the year.
Redshirt senior midfielder Laura Eddy tacked on a second Georgia goal later in the first half as she stepped back and fired one just inside the left post and past a diving D’Angelo in the 32nd minute, making it 2-0. Freshman Caroline Waters was given the assist on the play after she was blocked inside before dishing it back to an awaiting Eddy 25 yards out.
Georgia went into halftime guarding the 2-0 lead, and with 34 minutes to play in the second half, keeper Caitlin Woody made a diving stop to keep the shutout going off a hard sailing shot by South Carolina’s Sophie Groff.
South Carolina tested the Georgia defense with 17 shots on the night and the Bulldog back line answered, while the attack was able to make good on the two goals on only nine total attempts. Woody finished her night with seven saves to tie her season and career high.
Marion Crowder has now scored six of her seven goals on the season in the past three games.
The Bulldogs now have a rare Sunday open date and will hit the road to continue SEC play next weekend, traveling to Missouri and Kentucky with the Sunday meeting against the Wildcats set to air regionally on CSS.