Editor’s Note: Please welcome University of Georgia Senior midfielder and Team President, Conner Reed, to MCLA Fan. He will be writing about the Bulldogs throughout the 2014 season as they compete in the SELC D1 and make a run for the National Tournament. See all of Conner’s exploits on the season here.
Over the last two years, the Georgia lacrosse program has seen a lot of success. The team has won 28 out of 36 games, including a conference title. This year, the guys decided that we wanted to step up the competition in our out-of-conference games.
First up was #10 Boston College.
A crowd of upwards of 200 people was on hand to witness the season opener in Athens. The game started out pretty slow for both teams, the early season jitters still very much alive for both squads. A few minutes into the first quarter, the Dawgs struck first. I hit a runner going across the middle, scoring the first goal of the year for my senior season – which I have to admit was pretty cool.
The rest of the game did not go so well for us. After going down 7-2 to start the second quarter, we rallied back with goals by junior attackman/midfielder George Walker, junior midfielder DJ Nuckolls, junior midfielder Harrison Cassada, and freshman attackman Phil McCarthy. The Eagles put another couple goals in and went into the half up 9-4. The second half would be all BC as we were downed 15-5. Obviously not the stat we wanted for the season, but the stage for large crowds in Athens was set. Most people hadn’t seen lacrosse before, but loved it. That night we were able to show the BC guys a good time in the Classic City.
Next up was a division game in Nashville with Vanderbilt.
Again we were on the board first after a goal by junior attackman Michael Trainer, but the Commodores would answer quickly. Back and forth we went, with Vandy leading 6-4 at the half. Another back and forth half ensued, and Vanderbilt came out with the win 10-7. Even a goal by LSM Kolby Hanson couldn’t spark a comeback, as the shots just weren’t falling for us on this day. A buddy of mine from high school, Vandy’s face-off specialist Stephen Dolbow, and I talked after the game, with him saying: “come on man you’ve got to be happy that I got one.”
I wasn’t, but that’s lacrosse. They were the better team that day and he killed it at the X – which was definitely one of the determining factors. It was weird knowing that after picking up the game with him back in 6th grade, that was the last time the two of us would be on the field together in competition. Well done man, and shoutout for being such a big fan of the blog.
Next game against Wake Forest brought out the UGA squad of old: full of energy and crispness in all facets of the game. We won this one 16-2. The defense was stellar and the offense possessed the ball very well. The rides were ferocious and the clears were textbook. It was a good confidence booster going into the bus ride home.
This past weekend was our long awaited trip to California. For a while, though, it didn’t look like we were making it out of Georgia. Two or three inches of snow and almost an inch of ice came down and paralyzed the state. The northerners make fun of us for being crippled by such small amounts of snow, but I’m proud to live in a place where we don’t even bother preparing for it since the weather is much nicer 99% of the time. Plus, there’s not much better than being stranded in Athens, Georgia, with no class and nothing to do for an entire week. On Thursday, we were able to make our way to Atlanta for our flight to the “City of Angels.”
UC – Santa Barbara
After a quick practice on Friday afternoon, we went and checked out the UCSB campus. Not sure I would ever get anything done living at the beach like that. We were also culture shocked a bit. Heck, people in the restaurant we went to for lunch were blatantly taking pictures of us and looking at us funny. The game also put us in a bit of a shock. After watching the UGA women’s team rally for a 10-7 win over UCSB, it was our turn to take on the Gauchos. Although Michael Trainer put us on the board first, not much else went right that night. 17-4 was the final score. Not even In-N-Out Burger made the bad taste of this loss go away.
Saturday we made our way to Cal Poly for our last game of the trip. For the 5th straight game we put up the first goal of the game – a textbook fast break goal started by freshman goalie Alex “Speedy” Makrides and finished by attackman Michael Trainer. A goal by sophomore middie Kyle Reed put the Dawgs up 2-1 early, but this lead was quickly gone. We fought hard the whole way, but Cal Poly’s shooters were too much. It ended at 19-5.
We’ve seen some growing pains in this new era of Georgia lacrosse, but we’ve learned a lot. For one, we still have a lot of improving to do (hopefully the weather cooperates with us from now on). We’re a talented team, but inexperienced at some key positions and all us need to step up our game on the field. We also learned what the best teams in the MCLA look like, and how well their schools support them. The culture there versus the culture in the SELC is night and day. As much as I hate losing, and I HATE losing (more than anything), at the end of the day we play this game because we love the game, the competition, and the people we meet because of it.
But I love winning more. And our next chance to get back on track is when SELC play starts back up this coming weekend with games against Alabama and South Florida.