ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Carrie Patterson scored in the first 35 seconds to lead the 18th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs to a convincing 6-0 win in Friday night's season opener vs. Kennesaw State at the UGA Soccer Stadium, moving her into sole possession of the Bulldogs all-time scoring record.
Patterson finished with a hat trick on the night to bring her career tally to 36 goals, while the early tally was the quickest by a Georgia player since Patterson scored just 21 seconds in on Oct. 31, 2008 at Tennessee.
"I just can't thank my teammates enough - they played awesome around me and allowed me to keep scoring," Patterson said. "We had a great night for overall. Our goal was to play 90 minutes hard, and we were able to finish the game hard so I am proud of my team."
Patterson's early goal set the stage for the evening, and the forward got on the board again with 22:57 gone by to put the Bulldogs up 2-0 as she took a pass from Alex Hooker and tapped the ball in from the far left side.
Georgia's Natalie Farley netted the next Georgia goal at 31:32, an unassisted score on which the senior capitalized on a loose ball from just outside the box to send the teams into the locker rooms with Georgia owning the 3-0 halftime lead.
Sophomore Jamie Pollock added the fourth goal just two minutes into the second frame when she took a pass from Rebekah Perry on the right and sent it past the Kennesaw State keeper. The Bulldogs added to the lead in the 66th minute, a goal for Ashley Miller off an assist from Caroline Simpson as she became the fourth Bulldog to find the scoring column in the contest.
Just over a minute later, Patterson sealed it with her third of the evening at 67:27, taking a header from Marah Falle and finding herself open on the right side. The three-goal effort was the first of Patterson's career and the 11th in Georgia history. The last UGA hat trick came from Simpson on Sept. 2, 2007.
"This is a good starting point - we just wanted to prove something to ourselves," said head coach Patrick Baker, who begins his fifth season at the helm of the Bulldogs. "We are a team that is capable and we needed to play a heck of a lot better than we did [in exhibition at Florida State]. And I think there were glimpses of that."
"I thought Carrie was extremely special. I just think our captains showed through tonight, a lot of people stepped up and made a lot of plays. There were a lot of great individual efforts."
To preserve the shutout - UGA's ninth in 15 season-openers, the Bulldog defense stifled any opportunities the Owls saw, while veteran goalkeeper Michelle Betos roped in two saves on the night. The Bulldog backline prevented KSU from taking a shot until the final minute of the first half.
Tonight's output marked the highest total for the Bulldogs since Nov. 16, 2007 when they tallied six in the NCAA Tournament facing Alabama A&M.
Patterson also moves into a tie for the Georgia lead with eight career multi-goal games.