ATHENS, Ga. – One of the most successful home stands in program history ended victoriously as the University of Georgia soccer team defeated Presbyterian, 5-1, Thursday evening before 398 spectators at the Turner Soccer Complex.
For the second-consecutive match, Georgia (6-1-0) led with only a single goal at intermission, but eventually pulled away with a second half burst. The victory completed a seven-match home stand to begin the regular season and sealed the Bulldogs’ best start since 2013 (6-1).
As they have for much of the season, the Bulldogs dominated in shots, besting the Blue Hose (1-6-0) by a 39-4 margin, while also leading 14-3 in shots on goal. Freshman forward Danielle Lewin posted her second two-goal match of the season, bringing her season total to eight, while junior Mallie McKenzie, sophomore Madison Haugen, and freshman Faith Ferrer each notched their first career goals.
Georgia’s defense was also stingy on the evening, not allowing any corner kicks, the first occurrence for the program since blanking Arkansas on Sept. 25, 2015. In net, senior goalkeeper Emory Wegener just missed out on her third shutout in four matches, saving two shots before conceding a late goal.
“The first 10 minutes of the second half were pretty critical for us,” said Georgia head coach Billy Lesesne following the match. “I thought we were able to isolate their wingbacks a little bit more, so we picked each other out on one delivery. We were a bit more clinical in the final third and I think we were excited about a win, but disappointed to give one up late…I thought it was a good, solid performance and we created a lot of opportunities.”
Georgia came out firing in the first half, but despite multiple opportunities, strong play from Presbyterian keeper Megan Serrano kept the Bulldogs off the board. Eventually, the Bulldogs broke through as Lewin connected in the bottom left of the goal off an assist from freshman forward Rebecca Womer, the first assist of her career. The Bulldogs continued to attack but entered the locker room with only a one-goal lead, despite outshooting the Blue Hose, 21-2.
In the second half, the scoring started on a unique goal from McKenzie in the 51st minute, who connected in the left side of the net on what was supposed to be a cross off an assist from senior defender Cecily Stoute. Just one minute later, McKenzie set up another score as her pass to senior midfielder Dani Murguia was finished off by Haugen to make the score 3-0.
Later, in the 67th minute, Lewin picked up her second goal as she scored off a deflection from senior midfielder Abby Boyan who was playing a service from freshman midfielder Caroline Belisle. The four-goal lead allowed the Bulldogs to enter multiple reserves, leading to Ferrer scoring her first career goal off her own rebound in the box. With less than two minutes remaining, Presbyterian staved off the shutout as freshman midfielder Sarah Dieffenderfer scored on a breakaway set up by sophomore forward Reyna Coston.
Georgia now heads on the road for the first time in the regular season, traveling to face College of Charleston on Sunday at noon. The match will be streamed live on the FloSports subscription service. The Bulldogs will then open Southeastern Conference play next Friday at No. 10 Auburn before returning home to host Mississippi State on Thursday, Sept. 23 at the Turner Soccer Complex.
For complete information on Georgia soccer, follow the team on its social media channels via @UGASoccer on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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