Boy it’s good to be back in the south. After being the punching bag for UCSB and Cal Poly the previous weekend out west, the Dawgs returned home for a couple of SELC games this past weekend. It was sunny, warm, and time for us to get back on track.
With the weather finally cooperating with us, we had four great days of practice.
Come Friday we were ready to take out some frustration on the Tide.
Roll Over Tide
At Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia, a big crowd was in store for a fun night because they had some pretty good seats to witness what I call “ The Michael Trainer Show.”
It was clear that he and our other attackman were ready to roll from the opening whistle. Freshman attackman Phil McCarthy got things started with a quick goal, and Centennial alum Evan Hamrick followed that with a lefty rip. Then Trainer opened up his night with a goal off of a pretty assist by junior midfielder DJ Nuckolls, who may be the calmest person on the crease I’ve ever seen. Nuckolls finished with a hat trick and couple assists of his own.
By half, it was 8-1 Dawgs and Trainer had already completed one hat trick.
The second half really was no different. Trainer was scoring at will, and in every which way. Off feeds from midfielders, taking his defender behind, or beating them with moves from the wing that are illegal in 36 states. He finished with 6 goals and 2 assists. Bama made a small second half charge, but the D quickly stifled it.
The final score was 13-4 Dawgs. The team was feeling pretty good heading into an off day before taking on South Florida on Sunday.
Sunday brought another beautiful afternoon, this time for a game at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Georgia – my alma mater. This game started very similar to the way Friday night’s game did. Fellow Alpharetta High alum Kyle Reed started the scoring with his signature cross-crease dive and score off of a dodge from the low wing.
Harrison Cassada won the next face-off and Alpharetta alum DJ Nuckolls put one in the back of the net. Before you could blink, we were up 9-0.
The Alpharetta boys were obviously feeling at home, as we scored 10 of the team’s 18 goals. Not to mention former Alpharetta Raider Peter DeWispelaere scooping up 9 ground balls on his old turf. There was a time where I think he must have also been inspired by the winter Olympics because I think he invented a new kind of clear involving a triple salchow.
The final was 18-8, Dawgs on top. Trainer added to his stellar Friday night with a four goal, four assist performance. DJ Nuckolls added 3 more goals and Kyle Reed scored 4. Junior Goalie Alex Austin added some pretty spectacular and acrobatic saves on the day, too.
The defensive unit of DeWispelaere, Jackson Ruck, and Kolby Hanson was great in front of him as well. A pretty successful day on all accounts.
From my own personal end, it was an odd thought thinking that was probably the last time I’d play on that field. I made it count though, with 3 goals and 3 assists.
The smiles on everyone’s faces were a lot more pleasant to see than what we had seen out in California.
We were refocused and determined to get back to playing Georgia lacrosse. It didn’t hurt to be back in our home state in front of a couple big crowds wearing red and black. The journey to Atlanta continues this weekend when the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry comes to Athens as we take on the Auburn Tigers.
On Sunday, the Dawgs head to Clemson for what has become a heated, back-and-forth rivalry in recent years.