Video/Transcript: Chris Smith and Jamon Dumas-Johnson Post-Practice Interviews
On the progress the secondary has made this Fall camp…
“We have just been putting in a lot of work with Coach (Will) Muschamp and Coach Fran (Brown). They have been working with us a lot on technique, learning how to play the ball better. Basic thing that DBs have to do to be great. That is what we are trying to do, be great. So, we stay working every day. The work isn’t going to stop man. It’s going to continue up throughout the season.”
On being an experienced leader on a young team…
“First day of camp, those guys came in here with a lot of questions. I try to help out as best as I can. You know Malaki (Starks), Jacorey (Thomas), Marcus Washington… Dan (Jackson) and I try to do as best as we can to bring those guys along because we know that we are going to need them at some point this season.”
On the “Pop” nickname and where it came from…
“My mom just gave it to me. I’ve seen a couple videos going around of people who have their own little sayings of what my nickname is, but my mom really gave it to me… My mom said there was a commercial that every time it came on, I would laugh or something like that… I don’t know, got to ask my mama.”
On the many roles to fill in the defense this year and his goals for the season…
“I feel great stepping in. I think the guys that left last year did a great job helping me and leading me to fulfill those roles. My goals this year are to be the best that we can be this season, not just me but the whole team, and keep the same standards as if they never left.”
On how not playing his senior year of high school football affected his development and what it felt like to be back playing football…
“I was excited because who wants to take a year off of football? I think it set me back just a little bit because of Corona and weight issues- you can’t really work out in the building during that time. Once I got here, I was a little bit heavy, but I worked on trying to keep my weight low. Once I got that going, it was like I never left before, so Corona really set me back, but I got going once I got used to it again.”
SOC: UGA Opens with 4-0 Win Over Georgia Southern
Fueled by four goals, including three headers, the University of Georgia soccer team opened the 2022 season with a 4-0 win over Georgia Southern before 1,238 spectators at the Turner Soccer Complex. This win marked the first in the tenure of head coach Keidane McAlpine.
Three of the four Georgia (1-0-0) goals were scored off the heads of junior forward Tori Penn, graduate forward Dani Murguia, and sophomore midfielder Ellie Gilbert. Junior defender Taylor Rish tallied the final goal of the match, the first of her career.
“I’d have to say Mallie McKenzie was exceptional in that first half, getting in and starting well,” McAlpine said following the match. “She set the tone with the runs that she made just getting in and that early service getting us started. I thought, in the second half, both outside backs were, in particular, very good at getting into the attack and making it difficult for them to get out. Those three were absolutely exceptional.”
The Bulldogs outshot the Eagles (0-1-0) by a 29-3 margin, highlighted by a 13-1 advantage in shots on goal. McKenzie and junior defender Madison Haugen led Georgia with four shots apiece on the evening.
In the net, sophomore goalkeeper Liz Beardsley posted one save in a full 90 minutes of play, earning her first career victory.
The Bulldogs got on the board within the first 10 minutes of play with a header from Penn in the eighth minute. A pass from McKenzie on the end line connected with Penn’s head to kickstart the scoring for Georgia. The Bulldogs added a second goal on the board in the 43rd minute as an assist from Faith Ferrer on the 20-yard line was sent to the back of the net off the head of Murguia.
“I’m really excited to see how we can build on all the new tactics we’ve been building,” Murguia said following the match. “It’s definitely still new to us, and we’ve gotten better at it. As we continue practicing, it gets better and better. I think as the season progresses it will definitely get better, so I’m excited to see how that unfolds.”
A third scoring header from Gilbert inside the box came in the 55th minute off a corner kick from graduate midfielder Abby Boyan. Haugen battled around a defender in the 82nd minute to send a crossed ball to Rish, who was positioned in front of the goal to conclude the scoring.
Georgia will look to continue the momentum into a matchup against No. 1 Florida State on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Turner Soccer Complex. Admission is free for spectators and the match will be aired live on ESPNU.
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