Georgia forward Mollie Belisle (12) attempts to intercept the ball. The Georgia women’s soccer team faced the Kentucky Wildcats on Oct. 24, 2019, at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Georgia. Georgia tied Kentucky 1-1 after double overtime. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia soccer team was defeated 1-0 by South Carolina on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. The loss eliminated the Bulldogs from the tournament. 

Georgia clinched the sixth seed after its last-minute win against Florida in the regular season finale on Oct. 31, earning the Bulldogs a first-round bye into Tuesday’s quarterfinal match. They previously played South Carolina in their SEC opener this season, when they fell 3-0 to the Gamecocks in Columbia.

The first half of Tuesday’s game showed little promise, with each team only taking two shots each. Georgia junior Mollie Belisle led the team in shots over the course of the game with three total.

The Gamecocks played with a high defensive line, allowing Georgia to earn seven total offsides calls.

It wasn’t until the fifth minute of the second half that either team was able to finish a chance on goal. South Carolina’s Becky Koch earned the game winning goal in the 50th minute as her upper 90 shot taken from outside the box found the back of the net.

“This team has grown so much and you saw that today in the way we played,” head coach Billy Lesesne said. “They have a lot of heart and they put it all on display for everyone to see. Soccer is sometimes a cruel game. To play against a team like South Carolina who is so mature and such a strong team, for us to battle the way we did, I am incredibly proud of this group."

The remainder of the game was scoreless and South Carolina took the win, earning a spot in the semifinals of the tournament in Orange Beach.

Georgia finished the regular season with a 8-6-4 record and a 4-3-3 record in the SEC.

“The thing about this group is that they’re hungry for more,” Lesesne continued. “They wanted more out of this today and that’s the difficult part of this game. We accepted the challenge and fought hard on the day. I’m proud and pleased to be coaching a group like this.”

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