Oct. 23, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. -
Katy Frierson enhanced her SEC Freshman of the Year candidacy on Thursday night while the backline stifled a Georgia team that had run off four straight wins prior to the match as Auburn won, 1-0, in a crucial Southeastern Conference match at the Turner Soccer Complex. With the win Auburn improved to 9-7-2, 5-3-1 SEC and pulled to within three points of SEC West leader LSU with two matches remaining.
"We had a great effort by all the girls. Our defense was outstanding. We were playing against the best attacking player in the league last year in Carrie Patterson and we did a great job of shutting her down. The few times she did get past our defense (Allison) Whitworth was steady as a rock," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "Our offense attack was good too. Our rhythm was good, our pressure was good and Katy hit another unbelievable goal for the game-winner."
Frierson scored her team leading ninth goal of the season at the 13:46 mark and the defense turned away every Georgia run from there to preserve Auburn's second consecutive shutout.
With Auburn putting a lot of pressure on Georgia goalkeeper Courtney Cripps, Frierson bombed her ninth goal of the season from 35 yards out to put Auburn up 1-0 early. The scoring play started with a save on a shot by Chelsea Yauch from inside the box following a corner that Georgia defender Kristin Garman cleared off the line and over the box. Frierson calmly collected the clear, dropped it to her left foot and ripped the shot to the opposite upper-90. The goal moved Frierson into Auburn's single-season top-10 list for both goals and points (23).
"We had a good effort in the box with three or four people throwing their body at it and it just got cleared right to me. I just took a touch and smacked it," Frierson said.
Auburn controlled play for the majority of the first half with Georgia (7-9-1, 5-3-1 SEC) getting an occasional run in from midfield but even when it did find itself in position to get a shot off it was right to the awaiting arms of the Auburn goalkeeper Whitworth, who made four saves in the first half.
The same could not be said in the second half as Georgia amped up its pressure, but the backline of Lizzie Hamersly, Sammy Towne, Julie King and Jenn Johnson would not allow a quality scoring chance for most of the second 45 minutes, with Georgia taking long-range shots. The lone exception came when there was just under 17 minutes left when Georgia's Marah Falle had a back-foot flick that caused Whitworth to make a diving save to her left to keep Georgia off the board.
"We were marking Carrie Patterson and we did a really good job of staying with all their forwards and we were able to block shots," Hamersly, a Snellville, Ga., native said. "This was a huge win for us and gives us great momentum going into Sunday's game."
With the win and LSU's 0-0 tie with South Carolina, Auburn is now just three points behind the SEC West-leading Bayou Bengals with two matches remaining.
Whitworth finished the night with seven saves to give her 98 on the season and 322 for her career. With five saves over the final two games she would establish an Auburn single-season record and with seven she would become the all-time career saves leader.
Auburn returns home for another pivotal SEC match on Sunday when it plays host to Tennessee at 2pm at the Auburn Soccer Complex.