Oct. 20, 2011
Final Stats |
AUBURN, Ala. -
No. 22 Auburn and Georgia played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer on Thursday night in the final regular season home match for the Auburn soccer team. The tie puts Auburn's record at 11-4-2, 5-3-1 SEC and clinches the team's berth in next month's SEC Tournament in Orange Beach.
"Our defense was awesome. Amy Howard, Mary Nicholson, Julie King, Bianca Sierra and Heather Havron were all fantastic, and you can throw Jess Rightmer in there as well. She played a pretty defensive role. They were great and they gave us a chance to win the game," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We had our opportunities and the ball just didn't fall for us. It's one of those things, we're happy we didn't lose but we're mad we didn't win."
The two teams played an almost dead-even match with Auburn taking 15 shots to Georgia's 14 while Georgia (12-4-1, 6-2-1 SEC) had four corners to Auburn's three. Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard came up with four saves while Georgia's Ashley Baker had five and her teammates had one.
Georgia's team save was one of the two biggest of the match as Auburn twice looked like it was going to claim a 1-0 win. With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Katy Frierson served in a corner that Julie King headed towards the goal from the top of the six. The deflection, however, went down toward the feet of a Georgia defender, whose clearing attempt went straight into the underside of the crossbar and bounced out. Bianca Sierra had a chance to put away the rebound but her shot was blocked, ultimately leading to the overtime.
In overtime it seemed again like Auburn would claim the 1-0 victory as Mary Coffed found herself on a breakaway with Baker backpeddling. Coffed ripped a shot that Baker was able to deflect up long enough for one of her defenders to get back and underneath it in order to clear it before it crossed the line.
For Howard, the shutout was the 13th of her career. It also represented Auburn's first scoreless match since Sept. 20, 2009, when Auburn and No. 1 North Carolina couldn't find the back of the net.
"Defense was a big key going into the game," Howard said. "Our defense played well and we couldn't have asked for a better performance."
With two matches remaining, Auburn stands in second place in the SEC West, two points behind leader LSU. In the overall race, Auburn is fifth.
Kentucky's 2-0 win over Mississippi State clinched Auburn's tournament berth.
Auburn travels to Knoxville, Tenn., for a noon CT kickoff at Tennessee. The match will air live on CSS and ESPN3.com.
Auburn-Georgia Box Score
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