Spring is in the air down here in Georgia. And by spring, I mean pollen. If you’ve ever been down here during this time of year, you know how bad it gets. The rain we had last week washed some of it away, but it also pushed our home game against Florida State from Athens to Northview High School in Duluth.
Last season was the first time since 2008 that we had beaten the Noles, and we knew this year’s FSU team would be another tough test. With Northview being the long time home of the SELC Tournament, and with the FSU/UGA lacrosse rivalry being alive and well, the game definitely had a playoff feel to it.
But you wouldn’t know it by the way we opened the game. The first possessions by both teams were very sloppy. However, the Seminoles would get on the board quickly with a goal in transition after a turnover by the Dawgs. The momentum for FSU kept on rolling, and we found ourselves down by 5 at the end of the first quarter. If it weren’t for some great saves by Junior goalie Alex Austin, and a little help from the posts, things could have been even worse.
The second quarter began with much of the same. The Noles possessed the ball, moving it well, and our defense was getting tired. Halfway through the second quarter, things began to turn around. Basically, we got pissed off. After a timeout, you could look around the huddle and tell that the guys had had enough. We were not the team that had taken the field in the first quarter, and we were going to prove it. Junior midfielder DJ Nuckolls and Junior attackman George Walker got us on the board, and we went into half down 9-2.
When the second half started, the Dawgs had finally come to play. Michael Trainer opened play with a couple goals and brought us within 5. One of these was one of the most insane goals I think I’ve ever seen. After a shot by Freshman attackman Phil McCarthy was stopped, Trainer grabbed the rebound one handed, around two defensemen on the side of the goal, brought it back across his body, and flicked it past the keeper. All of this while tip toeing the crease. No one actually understood how it happened, and Trainer just walked away with a sheepish grin on his face.
Though we were down by a good amount, we were patient and moved the ball with a lot of confidence. Walker added a man-up goal before the end of the 3rd, and the defense was shutting the FSU offense down.
After a great fast break goal started by Junior midfielder Harrison Cassada on a clean face-off win ended with a great goal by Trainer, we had brought the game within 2. The Noles would add two more to stifle the run we were on, but we started a new one soon thereafter. I hit a man-up goal with about 3 minutes left, and Cassada followed with a great rip from the wing to bring us within 2. Unfortunately for us, we ran out of time and fell to FSU 11-9.
Finish Line in Sight
Last week we talked a lot about finishing; looks like we forgot about the whole starting element to it, though. We’re coming down to the wire and have our biggest game of the season against Georgia Tech coming up on April 12th. It’s huge for playoffs and state bragging rights. This week’s practices have been inspired, and we’ll need to keep working hard if we want to take down the Jackets.