Sept. 14, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - Sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Levick turned away 13 shots to help the Vanderbilt women's soccer team secure a point on the road with a 0-0 tie at Georgia in both team's 2012 Southeastern Conference opener.
"What a great Friday night SEC game this was," VU Head Coach Derek Greene said. "Georgia is a great, veteran team, and coming on the road is never easy. Getting a point away from home is huge for us."
Thirteen saves marks a career high for Levick. A couple of her stops were highlight-worthy. In the 20th minute, Georgia built up on the right side of the field before Carli Shultis struck a low shot toward the far post. Levick dove to her right and deflected the ball over the end line. In the 60th minute, Levick was called upon again. UGA's Jenna Owens was in 1-on-1 against the Commodore keeper, but Levick came out to the edge of her six-yard box and made a beautiful save to stop the break.
In overtime, Meghan Gibbons had the Bulldogs' best chance in the first minute, but Levick stopped the UGA attacker 1-on-1 with a kick save.
"Give Georgia credit. They put pressure on us down the stretch and we weathered the storm for the last 20 minutes," Greene said. "Our defense anchored down, and when Georgia had two or three dangerous chances late, Alexa came up with the saves we needed."
Although the Bulldogs were credited with 26 shots on the night, many of those attempts were either from distance or fell directly to Levick. Vanderbilt's back line played well for most of the night. Juniors Kendra Hendrix and Claire Romaine, freshman Erin Myers and sophomore Taylor Richardson all played the full 110 minutes on defense, as did holding midfielder Cherrelle Jarrett.
Vanderbilt had plenty of dangerous offensive build-up, though only two Commodore shots ended up on frame.
VU's best offensive chances were taken by two freshmen that have helped lead the Commodores in scoring this season--Cheyna Williams and Kelsey Tillman. In the 30th minute, Williams headed a ball across the face of UGA's goal that just sailed wide of the right post. Tillman's attempt came in the second overtime, when she stopped a ball at the edge of the 18' and fired a left-footed shot that barely flew over the crossbar.
"I'm just so proud of how hard the team worked," Greene said. "Pushing themselves, battling for every 50-50 ball... it was a blue-collar effort tonight to get that result, and that's exciting to see as we move forward in the conference."
Vanderbilt had lost five straight meetings against Georgia before Friday's tie, the first draw in the 20-game history of the series. Before tonight, the Commodores had not played to a scoreless tie since opening the 2010 SEC slate with a draw against No. 23 South Carolina.
Vanderbilt remains on the road Sunday, traveling to Knoxville to face in-state rival Tennessee. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT with a live video stream available at utsports.com.