PENSACOLA, Fla. - With a pair of first-half goals, the 6-seed Georgia soccer team defeated 3-seed and 22nd-ranked Tennessee, 2-0, Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament before 1,294 spectators at the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex.
Tuesday's win marked the first time Georgia (12-5-2, 5-3-2 SEC) has advanced in the SEC Tournament since 2014 and the first victory in the tournament since 2010, when the Bulldogs last advanced to the semifinal round. It was also the program's first postseason victory over Tennessee (11-5-2, 7-2-1 SEC), after three previous losses.
"It was a massive win," said Georgia head coach Keidane McAlpine following the match. "We had to weather that first bit of pressure from Tennessee - they're a fantastic team and the energy they brought was good. I thought we were a little nervous to start the game, but once we settled in and Dani hit that goal against the run of play, we settled in, and we executed some of the things we were trying to accomplish, and we scored two goals. I'm extremely proud of the way they fought through the moments of the game and found a way to win."
In the win, Georgia was outshot, 15-11, by Tennessee, including a 6-5 advantage in shots on frame. Additionally, the Bulldogs only earned one corner kick, while the Lady Vols tallied seven. In net, freshman goalkeeper Jordan Brown earned her fourth shutout in five starts, racking up six saves.
The Lady Vols opened the game on a tear, forcing Brown to make three saves in the first seven minutes of play. Emerging from the blitz, the Bulldogs struck first in the 20th minute as graduate forward Dani Murguia ripped a booming shot from beyond the 18 for her team-leading sixth goal of the season. With Murguia's winner, the Bulldogs are now 12-0 this season when scoring first.
With the lead in hand, Georgia added to its margin in the 34th minute as junior forward Tori Penn threaded a goal in front of the net, her fourth of the season. Penn's score was set up by junior defender Taylor Rish, who moved the ball inside the Tennessee box. Tennessee continued to press in the second half, tallying 10 more shots in the period as Brown accumulated three more saves. Nonetheless, the Georgia defense held strong as it clinched the upset victory.
The Bulldogs will face 2-seed South Carolina, ranked No. 13 in the nation, in the Thursday semifinal at 8:30 p.m. in a match that will be televised on SEC Network. Earlier this season, the Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs, 1-0, in Athens on a goal in the 82nd minute. Thursday's match will be the sixth SEC Tournament meeting between the programs with South Carolina leading, 2-3-0.