Soccer: Dawgs Open with Win over South Carolina

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Soccer: Dawgs Open with Win over South Carolina

Georgia defender Kayla Bruster (25) during the Bulldogs’ match against South Carolina at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

The University of Georgia soccer team opened the season with a thrilling 1-0 win over South Carolina at the Turner Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon. 

This marks the first time the Bulldogs have taken a game from the Gamecocks, a team that finished the 2019 season ranked No. 6, since 2014.

“This was a great way to start the season,” Georgia head coach Billy Lesesne said. “It’s been quite a journey, but to get the result today means a lot to this group. This helps give us confidence, I thought we were playing well at the end of the season last year. South Carolina ended our season and SEC play in 2019, so to play them immediately it’s a good measuring stick to see where we are at. I thought that we measured up well today. South Carolina is a very good team and I think it’s important for our team that we bend and not break, something we did well today.”

After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs were on the board for the first time in 2020 at the 62:28 mark.  Sophomore Mallie McKenzie controlled the ball before sending it to senior Mollie Belisle, who sent it back to McKenzie for a touch, and then to junior Abby Boyan for the finish. 

The Georgia attack was strong against a talented South Carolina team as the Bulldogs collectively took 13 shots in the 90-minute game.  Boyan and sophomore Chloe Chapman each had three shots, while Belisle added two more.  Five additional Bulldogs took attempts.

The Georgia defense held strong with a solid backline in senior Kayla Bruster, and juniors Cecily Stoute and Hale Otto.  The Bulldogs held the Gamecocks to eight shots and junior goalkeeper Emory Wegener made four saves, marking the 11th shutout of her career. 

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.