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Georgia defender Kayla Bruster (25) looks for an open teammate during a game on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020 at the Jack Turner Soccer Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs defeated the Volunteers 1-0. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Senior defender Kayla Bruster has been ruled out for Saturday’s match against Ole Miss following a 28th minute exit against Vanderbilt on Sunday, head coach Billy Lesesne said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Bruster left the match after a slide tackle from Vanderbilt forward Haley Hopkins that caused her to land hard on her hand. Bruster wore a brace and stayed on the sideline for the remainder of the match.

Prior to her exit against Vanderbilt, Bruster had played every minute this season in a defense that has only allowed four goals in six games. Auburn is the only team that has allowed less goals with the Tigers letting in two goals in four games.

Lesesne said Bruster had surgery Tuesday morning but could still possibly return for the SEC tournament. Matches start on Nov. 13 but Georgia could start on a later date depending on the Bulldogs’ final regular season seeding.

Junior defender Hale Otto replaced Bruster and stayed on the field for the remainder of the game.

“I do think that when Hale stepped in the game, she played extremely well at Vanderbilt,” Lesesne said. “I think her confidence should be riding high after her performance.”

The match against Vanderbilt was Otto’s third appearance this season, the first coming against South Carolina and the second against Florida.

Otto occupied Bruster’s usual spot of the center-most defender in the three-player back line Georgia utilizes. Although Lesesne will be without Bruster in the middle, he said the players have all trained with a three-player defense and will be prepared for the next match against Ole Miss.

“I think from a tactical standpoint, we might tweak a few things,” Lesesne said. “But from a formational [standpoint], we will probably keep that the same.”