Weekend in Blacksburg
Three games left in the regular season. Just three. How do you want to finish? That was the question our friend Chris asked us during our pregame chapel service Sunday morning. It really got us thinking, especially those of us who will be moving on come May. This season has been an absolute blur. I had always heard how college flies by and you lose track of time, but you don’t really realize it until it’s almost April of your senior season. Now that we’re back from spring break, it’s time to battle for the postseason.
Our trip to Blacksburg, Virginia began Friday morning with a first for our team: the bus was ON TIME. I haven’t seen that ever in my four years here. It had to be a good sign. We pulled into our hotel, took a breather, and then headed to the field for the first game of the weekend with the Pitt Panthers.
In 2012, the Panthers came down to Georgia and found some inclement weather waiting for them. We were pushed to the metro-Atlanta area due to rain, but found even more weather waiting on us. Midfielder Matt O’Neil scored right off the faceoff to open the 3rd quarter, tying the score. The tornado sirens went off before the next face and the game ended in a tie. Neither team was happy about this, and Friday was a chance for redemption.
The game started with a faceoff win by Harrison Cassada. This would prove to be a theme throughout the night, as the Dawgs played “make it, take it” nearly all game. Junior attackmen Michael Trainer and George Walker came out firing and the Dawgs went up 3-1 early. As expected, the Panthers did not roll over and the first quarter ended the way it started – tied up. After some sloppy transition by both squads, the Dawgs pulled ahead with another goal by Trainer. We won the second quarter and went into halftime up 5-3.
The third quarter started very much like the second ended. A few more goals from the red and black gave us a 7-3 lead. Then Pitt began to make a charge. We possessed the ball a good amount in the first half, but the Panthers were closing the gap in that battle in the third. We’d tack on one more before the end of the quarter and go into the fourth up 8-5. With a few quick goals to open the quarter, we were ahead 11-6, but Pittsburgh came roaring back. In the end, we were able to hold off the Panthers with a final score of 11-10.
Saturday gave us a day off and some time to check out the beautiful town of Blacksburg. Sunday, we took on the host Virginia Tech Hokies on a very cold and rainy day.
Virginia Tech Hokies
The Dawgs started strong with a goal in transition by Michael Trainer, but the Hokies answered with three of their own and never looked back. The score at half was 6-2. In the second, Tech’s sharp shooters went to work. The final that day was 13-3 Tech, with very few positives for the guys wearing red and black. And with that, we got on the bus for the 7 hour ride home. Luckily, the Wichita State/Kentucky games kept us pretty entertained.
This week we’ve really been thinking about what was said Sunday morning. How do we want to finish this season? Friday was a start, with Sunday being a step backwards. The question is one that has an easy answer, but it won’t be easy to get there, as the push for the playoffs gets real this weekend. Rival Florida State comes in to Athens Saturday afternoon for a game that is always physical and high scoring. Division games with Georgia Tech and Ole Miss are to follow, with the road to Atlanta hanging in the balance.