By Clay Witt
In just his second season as the head coach at the University of Georgia, Keidane McAlpine has delivered Georgia its first ever SEC championship.
Early on in the SEC tournament championship game versus No. 10 nationally ranked, and No. 1 seed Arkansas, a bit of luck following a cross from Mallie Mckenzie which led to an owl goal, gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead which was all that was needed Sunday afternoon.
“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of these women,” McAlpine said in an interview shortly after the game. “If you think of the adversity we went through in this game and in this tournament, it’s unbelievable.
That adversity would be the fact that the Razorbacks dominated play for the most part of the game. The Hogs outshot Georgia 18-7 overall, with a 7-3 advantage for shots on target.
The defense was the main talking point this whole tournament for the Bulldogs, and it was no different in the championship game.
Goalkeeper Jordan Brown had to make a few key saves to prevent Arkansas from leveling the game. A diving save at the 66-minute mark and then a close-up save at the 68-minute mark to keep Georgia ahead. A final catch on a cross near the end of the game secured the title for Georgia.
“Now we know how to win. Now we know how to dig deep, because we had to fight for everything. Now we know anything is possible. We’ve played a schedule worthy of a champion, and now we know how to pull through and get it done,” McAlpine said.
Georgia was playing for an SEC tournament title for the fourth time in program history, but its first since 2008. The NCAA tournament brackets will be released Monday, and Georgia should host a first-round game for the second year in a row.