Bolstered by a season-high five goals, the 23rd-ranked University of Georgia soccer team concluded its non-conference season with a 5-0 win over San Francisco Sunday morning before 1,032 spectators at the Turner Soccer Complex.
For Georgia (4-1-3), four players tied for the team lead with two shots apiece, as the Bulldogs outshot the Dons by a narrow 14-13 margin with a 7-3 advantage in shots on frame. Senior goalkeeper Lauren Swoopes made her first career start in net, earning the win with two saves. Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Brown played during the middle portion of the match and tallied a stop as well.
San Francisco (2-5-2) came out firing in the opening moments, attempting five shots in the first 10 minutes of play against Swoopes. Despite the initial barrage, Georgia found the scoreboard first as junior midfielder Aly Akers scored her first career goal off a pair of terrific assists from redshirt senior midfielder Nicole Vernis and freshman defender Kiera Staude. Later in the half, junior midfielder Ellie Gilbert launched a lofting goal from beyond the penalty box for her first score of the season. The goal was set up by another assist from Vernis, giving the North Palm Beach, Florida native four points for the week.
In the second half, the Bulldogs continued to press, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded in the 57th minute. Senior defender Madison Haugen slotted the penalty just by the Dons’ keeper for her first goal of the season. Junior forward Olivia Briede netted her first goal as a Bulldog in the 71st minute, charging the net to deposit an assist from graduate midfielder Mallie McKenzie. The scoring concluded six minutes later as freshman forward Caroline Smith tallied her second score of the year, initiated by a pass from junior defender Alyssa Stadeker.
Georgia remains home this Thursday, Sept. 21 for its Southeastern Conference home opener against LSU at 6 p.m. at the Turner Soccer Complex. Admission is free for all fans, with the first 500 receiving a throwback replica jersey honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1998 team that reached the Sweet 16 and featured the first graduating class in program history. The match will be streamed live on SEC Network+.
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