BATON ROUGE – Junior Jodi Calloway cut Georgia’s lead in half with just over six minutes to play by scoring her third goal of the season off an LSU corner kick, but the Tigers were unable to equalize down the stretch before falling to the Bulldogs by a score of 2-1 in their 2013 home finale on Friday night at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (9-6-2, 5-3-1 SEC) saw two streaks come to an end with Friday’s defeat to the Bulldogs (11-5-1, 4-4-1) after entering the match with a two-game unbeaten streak in the series and a five-game unbeaten run against Georgia in Baton Rouge with a 4-0-1 mark on their home field dating back to the 2003 season.
With Georgia holding a 2-0 late in the second half, Calloway pulled one back with her third goal of the campaign on the fifth of LSU’s six corner kicks on the night.
Sophomore midfielder Fernanda Pina played the initial ball into the middle of the area from the right corner flag, but it was immediately played out by a Georgia defender. Pina again controlled possession just outside the area on the right side, where she centered a pass to Calloway for a one-time finish from the top of the six-yard box at the 83:34 mark.
Pina attempted another corner kick with just 90 seconds remaining, but the Tigers were unable to equalize before the final whistle as the Bulldogs took home the 2-1 victory and a valuable three points in SEC play.
The Tigers wrapped up the night in a tie for fifth place with Ole Miss in the SEC standings while collecting 16 points with a 5-3-1 conference mark through nine league games. Texas A&M tops the table with 24 points for sole possession of first place, followed by Florida in second place with 21 points, South Carolina in third place with 19 points and Kentucky in fourth place with 18 points.
Despite the loss, the Tigers clinched a spot in the 2013 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament as they can now plan their trip to Orange Beach, Ala., for the event that will be held Nov. 4-10 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.
Georgia scored the breakthrough goal just under three minutes from the opening kickoff as defender Nikki Hill connected with striker Rachel Garcia on an attack down the left-hand side to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. Hill crossed the ball from beyond the left side of the area and found Garcia’s head about eight yards out for an easy finish inside the right post at the 2:59 mark.
The Bulldogs doubled their lead in the 65th minute as Gabby Seiler and Madeline Barker combined in the midfield before playing the ball through LSU’s defense to striker Marion Crowder for the second goal. When she got past the defense, Crowder fired a shot into the left side of the net for her team-leading 11th goal of the season at the 64:09 mark of the second half.
Georgia came close to increasing its lead in the 75th minute as Barker broke free from LSU’s defense on a breakaway, but senior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman raced off her line to challenge with a diving save.
Kinneman was strong in goal for the Tigers while making a season-high nine saves on 11 shots on goal by the Bulldogs in her final appearance at the LSU Soccer Stadium.
Senior Night festivities were held prior to Friday’s kickoff as eight Tiger senior were honored before the game. Kinneman was not the only Tiger senior to make her final appearance at the LSU Soccer Stadium on Friday night as she was honored along with Nina Anderson, Emily Cancienne, Addie Eggleston, Nicole McLaughlin, Shannon McLain, Danielle Murphy and Alex Ramsey.
The Tigers return to action on Sunday afternoon with a trip to Lexington, Ky., to take on the 22nd-ranked Kentucky Wildcats in a match that is scheduled to kick off at noon CT at the UK Soccer Complex. LSU will finish off the 2013 regular season on Thursday of next week with a trip to Ellis Field in College Station, Texas, for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the 24th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies.