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Scenes from University of Georgia women’s soccer against South Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 at Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Katie Tucker ktucker@randb.com)

Georgia soccer fell to eighth-ranked South Carolina in a close, competitive match, 1-0.

Playing in front of a crowd of 1,462 at the Turner Soccer Complex, the Bulldogs and Gamecocks were tied for 81 straight minutes of the contest. However, in the 82nd minute, Payton Patrick, off a block, fired the ball into the bottom right corner of the net and gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead and the win.

While the loss marked the end of Georgia’s seven-game win streak, head coach Keidane McAlpine still remained positive about the team’s performance.

“I thought our position was much better than the last game, we executed that really well,” said McAlpine. “I thought early on, our pressure was really good. And to be fair, we should have scored a couple goals right there [at] the beginning of the game, but this is a lesson that we have to learn.”

Georgia just couldn’t seem to score today. There were several opportunities that the team missed out on in the first half.

The Bulldogs controlled possession for a significant portion of the first half. However, whether it was a pass off the mark or a shot that sailed way above the net, the Bulldogs never even took a shot on goal until the second half of the game.

“When you do create moments, you have to take them,” McAlpine said. “We did enough today to win the game. We definitely didn't deserve to lose it, but credit to them. They're a team that understands what this is, and they took care of it.”

While only one goal was officially scored, in the 57th minute, a South Carolina goal was called back after review due to a handball violation. This kept the score at 0-0 before Patrick’s goal towards the end of the match.

Even though one shot got through, sophomore goalkeeper Liz Beardsley put on a clinic. Beardsley had four total saves on the day, in addition to several athletic and smart moves to help keep Georgia in possession of the ball.

“She's really, really good,” said McAlpine. “When you have a goalkeeper that can make saves like that, keep you in games, and just make it look somewhat effortless, it gives you confidence.”

No matter which side the ball was on, this game quickly turned into a physical contest. A foul from Georgia and South Carolina came in at the eighth minute of the game and would persist throughout.

No one was ejected, but both teams racked up seven fouls each. A staggering 14 fouls on the game.

“There's just, some sort of rivalry between our two soccer teams,” said graduate forward Dani Murguia. “I don't know what it is, but there's something about it that neither of us like each other.”

The match featured a unique strategy from both teams. Over the course of the match, the Bulldogs made 15 total substitutions and the Gamecocks made 20 total substitutions. With an overall 35 total substitutions for the game, each team cycled through players often.

Despite the constant rotation of players, one Georgia player never even got to see the pitch.

This game marked the first full match that Georgia was without junior forward and reigning SEC co-offensive player of the week Dasia Torbert. Torbert is out, likely for the season with a torn ACL.

The Bulldogs now continue their SEC schedule, as they travel to Gainesville, Florida, to face the Florida Gators on Sunday, Sept. 25.