BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Powered by a career-high three points from junior midfielder Dasia Torbert, the University of Georgia soccer team opened Southeastern Conference play with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Texas A&M Friday evening before 2,012 spectators at Ellis Field.
For Georgia (7-2-0, 1-0-0 SEC), it was the program's first win in its SEC road opener since a 1-0 result at Missouri in 2013. Despite Texas A&M (5-2-2, 0-1-0 SEC) outshooting Georgia by a 19-8 margin and earning four more corner kicks, the Bulldogs capitalized by scoring on all three shots on frame. Sophomore goalkeeper Liz Beardsley tallied five saves to earn her sixth consecutive win, while four teammates joined her in playing a full 90 minutes.
"To be fair, we didn't play our best, but (Texas A&M) played great," Georgia head coach Keidane McAlpine said following the match. "Tough crowd, tough environment, but playing on the road in the SEC is difficult. I'm really proud of this team today because we found a way to win a game that was very, very difficult. We took care of our chances-we didn't get many, but we made them count and that's what you have to do in these types of games.
Georgia struck first as freshman defender Cate Hardin scored her first career goal in the sixth minute, capitalizing on a rebounded corner kick from junior defender Madison Haugen. The early lead proved to be short-lived as Texas A&M tied the match in the 15th minute with a goal from Taylor Pounds, set up by an on-target corner kick.
As the intensity picked up in the first half, the Bulldogs moved back in front in the 23rd minute as sophomore forward Joyelle Washington put just enough touch on a fantastic forward pass from Torbert to pass by Aggie goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell. With the assist, Torbert became just the seventh player in program history to tally a point in five consecutive matches. Once again, the Aggies responded as Andersen Williams scored off a cross right in front of the net from Jai Smith.
The second half opened with an immediate Texas A&M attack at the net, but the Bulldogs' defense was able to clear the eventual corner kick. The Aggies found another opportunity at the net in the 66th minute with Hardin turning it away with her back foot.
Despite the efforts, it was Georgia who found the go-ahead score as Torbert scored from the top of the six off assists from junior forward Tori Penn and graduate midfielder Abby Boyan. With just under six minutes to play, an Aggie shot hit the top of the cross bar, but the Bulldogs were able to run out the remainder of the clock and seal the victory.
Georgia returns to the Turner Soccer Complex next Thursday, Sept. 22, for a matchup against No. 5 South Carolina at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed on SEC Network+.