Editor’s Note: Please welcome University of Georgia Junior midfielder and Team President, Conner Reed to MCLA Fan. He will be writing about the Bulldogs throughout the 2013 season as they compete in the SELC D1 and make a run for the National Tourament.
Coming off of a 13-3 season, The University of Georgia Bulldogs are looking to duplicate this success in the 2013 campaign. This season will not be easy, however, as the team takes on a much more challenging schedule, all while replacing 10 seniors from last year’s squad. The Dawgs start 2013 on February 9 in Athens with a game against SELC foe Wake Forest. The next afternoon will feature a rematch from the 2012 season with Kennesaw State University. The Owls are ranked 14th in the country for MCLA D-2 going into the season. The first road test for the Dawgs will come on February 16 down in Gainesville against the Florida Gators. The Dawgs came out on top in both editions of this rivalry game last season.
The last weekend in February takes UGA down to Tallahassee for the Southern Shootout, with games against Central Florida, South Carolina, and #14 Florida State. The Dawgs took both contestants against UCF and USC last season in hard fought battles, while the Seminoles took both games against UGA in 2012 – including the SELC semi-final classic that saw the Noles score with under 1 minute to play to complete the 10-9 comeback victory. Georgia returns to Athens for a weekend of non-conference action on March 1st and 2nd. The Dawgs welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes and Texas Christian University Horned Frogs to Athens on Friday and Saturday, respectively. This will be the Dawgs’ first matchup with both teams.
Division play heats up after Spring Break as the Dawgs travel to Oxford, MS to take on a much improved Ole Miss squad on Friday March 22. Georgia will return home to play the reinstated Vanderbilt Commodores in Roswell, GA at Centennial High School on March 24. March concludes with what has become a heated rivalry with the Clemson Tigers on March 29.
April finds the Bulldogs on the road for the remainder of the season. On April 5, the Dawgs will take on the University of Alabama. UGA then travels down to Auburn on April 7 for another division game. “‘Bama is always a hard fought game that comes down to the fourth quarter,” says senior defenseman Brett Botto. “Considering we just edged by them last year in the last five minutes of the game, we know they’ll be prepared to try and knock us off this year.”
The Dawgs will close their out-of-conference play with a trip to Colorado on April 12th through 13th. On Friday, Georgia will take on preseason #1 and the defending MCLA D-1 Champion Colorado State. This will be one of the Dawgs toughest challenges of the season without question. However, it does not get any easier the next night, as UGA will play the #7 University of Colorado Buffaloes in Folsom Field. Senior midfielder Garrett Whitehurst comments, “We are looking big picture and at the MCLA tournament, so we’re excited to play some elite competition outside of the SELC.”
The Dawgs then return to Georgia for some good ole’ fashioned hate and the final division game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on April 20.