NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With goals in the first 20 minutes from both teams, the University of Georgia soccer team tied Vanderbilt, 1-1, Thursday evening before 459 spectators at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex.
For Georgia (8-4-1, 2-2-1 SEC), the tie broke a six-match losing streak to Vanderbilt (8-1-3, 2-1-2 SEC) and gave the Bulldogs a valuable point in the SEC race. Five Bulldogs tallied two shots on the evening as Georgia outshot Vanderbilt, 12-5, including an 8-2 margin in shots on frame. Sophomore goalkeeper Liz Beardsley posted one save in the first draw of her career.
"I thought we started a little bit slow," Georgia head coach Keidane McAlpine said following the match. "Vandy came out extremely hard and it took us a second to get into the game, but I liked our response. We got back on the board fairly quickly. We proceeded to get going a bit and had some good shots. A little unfortunate that we didn't get the win at the end, but overall, a decent performance."
Vanderbilt started quickly on the offensive end, appearing to score in the second minute of play before the goal was waved off due to an offside call. Two minutes later, the Commodores finished the job, putting away a deflected ball to take an early 1-0 lead.
After only attempting one shot in the opening 15 minutes, the Bulldogs found an equalizer as sophomore midfielder Ellie Gilbert scored a short goal, her second of the season, off a soaring service from freshman defender Cate Hardin, the first assist of her collegiate career. Georgia controlled possession for the majority of the first half, building a 6-1 shot margin, including two shots on frame in the final two minutes.
Georgia immediately found itself with a scoring opportunity in the opening minute of the second following a Vanderbilt yellow card, but graduate midfielder Abby Boyan's free kick was deflected by Commodore keeper Kate Devine. Vanderbilt looked to have a go-ahead goal in the 54th minute, but once again, the offsides flag went up on the sideline. In the 57th minute, junior defender Taylor Rish found herself in great position to score off a service from senior midfielder Mallie McKenzie, but her header went high.
Devine continued to help her team in the 65th minute as a blistering strike from junior defender Madison Haugen was deflected to maintain the tie. The Commodores began earning more possessions in their end as the clock entered single digits, but the Bulldogs' defense held tight on a pair of corner kicks. Junior forward Tori Penn almost broke the stalemate in the 86th minute before Devine made another strong save. Despite one final charge by Georgia, the match ended all squared.
Georgia returns home to face No. 19 Tennessee on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Turner Soccer Complex. The match will be aired live on SEC Network. Fans are encouraged to help "Pack the Pitch" and wear black to the match.