LAWRENCE, Kan. - A strong defensive showing by Georgia kept the Kansas soccer team off the scoreboard as the Bulldogs topped KU 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon. Kansas was shutout for just the third time this season as it ended the 2011 season 11-9-1 overall.
The postseason appearance was the Jayhawks' fifth time in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2008 as they fell to 4-5 in NCAA action. Georgia improved to 13-6-2 and will advance to face the winner of Duke vs. Radford next weekend in second round play.
"It's disappointing," said KU head coach Mark Franics. "I thought in the first half we had the ball down on their end for most of the half, but we didn't really create that many opportunities from that possession. There weren't that many chances in the game period. The disappointing thing for us is we just didn't create that many goal-scoring opportunities and you have to give them (Georgia) credit. It's disappointing for the kids because I think that was a game we definitely could have won."
Both teams got off to a slow start in the first half with possessions in front of the goal very limited. The Jayhawks managed just two shots, both on frame, while Georgia came up with four attempts.
After regrouping at the break, KU turned up the pressure in the final 45 minutes out-shooting the Bulldogs 9-7 to even out the offensive output to 11 shots for each team.
The Bulldogs finally broke the stalemate during the 51st minute. Jenna Buckley played a pass into the box from the near sideline that found Ashley Miller. Miller fired from five yards out on a high bouncing ball to record her fifth score of the season and put Georgia up 1-0.
Not long after, Georgia's top scorer Alexa Newfield expanded her team's lead. Newfield carried the ball up the field and, after getting around a KU defender, shot and scored from the top of the penalty box for her 16th goal of the year.
Trailing 2-0, Kansas felt a new level of urgency but could not piece together key passes in the final third of the field as Georgia's back line held strong. Freshman Liana Salazar had one of Kansas' few good looks in the 59th minute. She received a pass in the box near the left side of the goal but her shot flew wide. Fellow freshman Ingrid Vidal also had a good look in the final minute of the game. With a lot of traffic in the box, Vidal collected the ball and hit a hard shot from only eight yards out but Georgia keeper Ashley Baker tallied her fourth save of the game to preserve the Bulldogs' shutout.
Redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Stroud played all 90 minutes in the goal for Kansas recording four saves in the game. Salazar and Vidal were two of four KU players to finish with multiple shots as the pair registered two attempts apiece along with junior Shelby Williamson. Junior Whitney Berry led all players with three shots.
Newfield led the Georgia attack with three attempts. Madeline Barker added two shots, while six additional Bulldogs had one shot each.