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Richards' PK leads Auburn to upset of No. 12 UGA

90 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

ATHENS, Ga. - Playing a man down for the final 35 minutes, Auburn buckled down and showed its grit and determination in a 1-0 win at No. 12 Georgia Sunday night.

With the win, the Tigers are the last remaining unbeaten team in the SEC. The win is also the team's first against a top-15 team on the road since defeating No. 12 Florida, 3-0, on Sept. 22, 2016.

"It was wild one, for sure," head coach Karen Hoppa said. "Red card, PK, defended like crazy. It definitely ranks up there just with this team gutting out a performance like that - a man down against an undefeated, top-15 Georgia team. That's a big one, and I'm really proud of the girls' effort."

Freshman goalkeeper Maddie Prohaska was forced to leave the game after receiving a red card 10 minutes into the second half. Three minutes later, Sydney Richards put the game-winning penalty kick into the back of the net.

"Honestly, I was thinking this is practice and I've done it a million times. Let me just do what I do," Richards said.

Graduate transfer goalkeeper Dani Kaufman made her Auburn debut and came up huge in her 35 minutes of action. The Wilmette, Illinois, native made six saves in the second half, including one on a free kick from 20 yards out as soon as she entered the contest and another she tipped over the crossbar with less than five minutes remaining.

"It's just the next-man-up mentality that Ben (Madsen) and Coach (Hoppa) have been preaching to us," Kaufman said. "This season alone has been so unpredictable. I just appreciate that my teammates have my back and my coaches have my back. This was a complete team effort. We gutted it out."

Prohaska and Kaufman combined for the shutout, marking Auburn's second straight clean sheet. The Tigers haven't allowed a goal in the run of play this season.

"This is where our depth really showed out," Hoppa added. "We had some unbelievable performances off the bench. Obviously, ranking right up there at the top was Dani Kaufman. What an unbelievable performance by her."

The Tigers came out aggressive in the second half, winning a pair of corner kicks in the first five minutes, but couldn't come up with anything to show for it. After the red card, the Tigers had to go on the defensive and play everyone back.

However, the team took advantage on its opportunity when Anna Haddock served it up a free kick to M.E. Craven, who earned the penalty while making a run on frame. Richards stepped up to the mark and finished it off.

Auburn played 19 players in the contest for the second time this week.

The Tigers (2-0-1) return to action next Saturday, Oct. 24, hosting Kentucky (0-3-2) at 6 p.m. CT at the Auburn Soccer Complex.