Athens, Ga – A late score from freshman Kierra Nelson got the Georgia State women’s soccer team on the board but could not overcome the goal deficit as the Panthers fell, 4-1, to Georgia Sunday afternoon at the UGA Soccer Stadium. Georgia State drops to 1-6 on the season while the win improves the NSCAA South Region’s eighth-ranked Georgia to 5-2.
Nelson’s goal was the first of her career made possible with an assist from fellow freshman Nikki Fedele. Senior goalkeeper Kellianne Collins returned to the lineup to record four saves after missing the past four games due to an injury sustained early in the season.
Georgia got off to an early lead with a goal in the first minute from Ashley Miller. Twelve minutes later, Georgia kept up the pressure with Alexa Newfield scoring another goal to give the Bulldogs a quick 2-0 advantage.
The Panthers’ first scoring opportunity came in the 22nd minute and began with a corner kick from sophomore Alyssia Feronti. Senior Lani Huntley powered a shot towards Georgia’s goal following the kick from Feronti but her shot was blocked by the Bulldog defense to deny Huntley the score. Three minutes later junior Sarah Bennett tried for a goal but the ball missed wide.
Georgia tallied again late in the first half with a goal from Madeline Barker, giving the Bulldogs a three-goal lead at halftime.
“We withstood the pressure once they got the first goal, but you can’t go down 1-0 that early against Georgia,” said head coach Domenic Martelli. “We created a lot of good chances before they got the second goal, but to give up that goal late in the first half really took the wind out of our sails.”
Shortly after the break, the Bulldogs gained their fourth and final goal with a second score from Newfield.
The Panthers stood determined to land a goal, outshooting the Bulldogs 8-4 in the second half. Georgia State bombarded the Georgia back line with three shots on goal in less than a minute, two from Fedele and one from sophomore Briana Pitre, but none made it past Bulldog keeper Caitlin Woody.
“We need to know that we can play with just about any team in the country and we proved that in the second half,” commented Martelli. “It was by far the best half we have played all season. As a unit, whether you started or came in and out during the second half, everyone played very well. I was not at all pleased with the first part of the game and that is what hurt us.”
The Panthers fired twice more before Nelson’s shot found the back of the net at the 85:41 minute mark. On the play, Fedele blasted a shot that hit the post and bounced back in front of Georgia’s goal. Nelson put home the rebound to get on the board and deny Georgia the shutout.
Georgia State will look to rebound from the loss on the road against UNC-Asheville Friday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.