Georgia shuts out Kansas to advance
Game was close throughout as both teams took 11 shots
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Georgia used a 2-0 win against Kansas on Sunday afternoon to move on to the second round of the NCAA Championships. Georgia got goals on the day from Ashley Miller and Alexa Newfield while holding KU off the board, moving to 13-6-2 on the season and finishing the host Jayhawks’ season at 11-9-1.
A slow first half was countered by a strong second for the Bulldogs, who put in two after halftime.
“What a great feeling and an awesome day,” head coach Steve Holeman said. “I’m proud of this team and the way the girls fought. It’s no easy task to come to Lawrence and play a very good Kansas team. We knew it would be evenly matched. I thought our defense played incredibly well today all the way to the very end when Ashley Baker had to make a big save to preserve the shutout. We did some nice things in the attack. We’re excited to come away with the win and move on to the next round.”
The first half came to a close with shots just 4-2 in favor of Georgia as neither time managed much offense. Kansas had a chance early on in the first as a midfielder flicked one overtop the Bulldog back line, but the first touch after the pass went right at Ashley Baker. Kansas was awarded a free kick on the play, but Georgia answered the call.
The Bulldogs had a good look late in the half as Madeline Barker worked herself into open space, but her shot from the right flank found the side netting. Torri Allen had a good run on the left moments later, but goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stroud beat the sophomore to the loose ball. The first 45:00 ended with shots on goal just 2-2 and corners at 1-1 with both sides still searching for the back of the net.
Georgia came immediately with more energy in the second, as Newfield fired a shot at Stroud in the opening minutes that forced the keeper to dive for it, setting up a corner. The Bulldogs played it back to an open Bailey Powell on the play, but the senior’s shot from outside was high.
The Bulldogs then broke through – erasing their recent scoring drought – as Jenna Buckley sent a beautiful service into the box that was tailing toward the goal, and Miller was there to tap it past Stroud to give the Bulldogs the lead in the 52nd minute. It was the fifth of the season for Miller.
Newfield then increased the advantage to 2-0 just seven minutes later, beating two defenders to earn an open look at the goal and made it count, firing it at the near post past Stroud for the unassisted tally. The goal gave Newfield 40 points on the season, good for the Georgia single-season record. She now sits at 16 goals on the year.
Jenna Owens had a shot saved just after that as Georgia continued to pressure, finding their offensive rhythm after the intermission.
The Bulldogs buckled down on defense to keep Kansas from climbing back into it, and the clock expired on the 2-0 lead. The shots finished even at 11-11 and Kansas took one more corner, 5-4. Baker made four saves – including one that forced her to dive to her right late in the contest to keep the ball out of the net – in preserving the shutout.