Dani Murguia

Georgia midfielder Dani Murguia during a match against Wake Forest at the Jack Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Georgia on April 3, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)

The Georgia soccer team defeated Wake Forest 4-1 in the Bulldogs’ last home game of the season Saturday, moving the Bulldogs’ overall record to 4-7-3 and the Deacons’ record to 5-7-1.

The result also snapped Wake’s two-game winning streak.

Each of Georgia’s four goals came through crosses from the wide areas and intelligent positioning in the opposition penalty area, which led to Georgia’s forwards scoring quick and tidy finishes.

“Something that we’ve been really trying to ingrain the forwards’ heads is, whatever you do, get in the box, because you never know what’s going to happen when you get in the box,” said Georgia forward Mollie Belisle. “If you look at the … past games I’ve gotten goals in, it’s literally because I’ve just gotten in the box.”

That formula worked for the Bulldogs throughout the entire match. The first goal, though not a direct cross from a wide player to a forward, had many of the same elements as every other goal Georgia scored throughout the match.

Georgia junior Dani Murguia cut inside from the left wing and crossed the ball into the Wake Forest penalty area. The cross rattled off the far post and fell to Belisle, who scored the first two goals for the Bulldogs on Saturday in the 13th and 23rd minutes of the game.

Murugia posed a threat to Wake’s back line in the wide areas of the field, generating two shots on target and two assists despite playing only 51 minutes of the entire match.

“We definitely have practiced … getting our forwards in wide spaces and having our wingbacks … come inside,” Murguia said. “I think the way Wake Forest dropped in allowed us to utilize those wide spaces. There were a lot of runners in the box, which definitely helped.”

Murguia, deployed as a forward, often drifted into the wide spaces, picked up the ball and found an open Georgia player in the Wake Forest penalty area. Murguia did exactly that and crossed the ball onto Ashley Andersen’s head to combine for the fourth and final goal of the game in the 64th minute.

Georgia substitutes Jessie Denney and Haley Sorell both came off the bench to contribute with an assist and a goal respectively.

“We want [the substitutes] to be game changers,” said head coach Billy Lesense. “If you’re not in that starting eleven, that should be your role and responsibility. Find ways to make an impact when you go into the game. I thought all of our players who stepped onto the field really were electrified with energy.”

Wake Forest’s Shayla Smart scored her team’s only goal in the 62nd minute.

The Georgia soccer team will take on North Carolina State in the final game of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina.