As usual, we will wrap up the weekend’s Georgia sports action in tomorrow evening’s Sunday summary, but a few athletic events of note warrant individual attention, and two sets of Lady Bulldogs were in significant action on Saturday. Here is how they fared:
The eighth-ranked Georgia women’s lacrosse team, back in action for the first time since the A-Town Throwdown, were in Columbia, S.C., for a doubleheader on Saturday, and the Bulldogs’ first outing was against 19th-ranked host squad South Carolina.
The Gamehens leapt out to a 2-0 lead before attacker Jenna Dreyer poured in a pair of goals to snarl the score. Subsequent scores by midfielders Lindsay Brinker, Katie Ezell, and Callie Wheatley, as well as two more by Dreyer, made it 7-2 in favor of the Red and Black. South Carolina scored twice to narrow the margin, but midfielder Morgan Shumate connected on the goal that made it 8-4 for the Classic City Canines.
A yellow card against the Garnet and Black set the stage for Dreyer’s fifth goal of the day. Georgia led, 9-6, at the half, but South Carolina cut the gap to 9-8 before attacker Kaitlin Shumate gave the Bulldogs a two-goal advantage. Attacker Murphy Ferguson and midfielder Cat Brennen extended the lead to 12-8, and two more scores by Dreyer made the final margin 15-9.
The Red and Black had little time to celebrate their victory before their game against Kennesaw State got underway, but the Owls were able to provide little competition for the Athenians. The Bulldogs were up, 3-0, early, and attacker Parisa Ayers’s third goal of the game gave Georgia an 11-3 edge before thunder caused a break in the action and rain ended the game. The women’s lacrosse team will close out the regular season against Central Florida in Athens next Saturday morning before beginning SWLL Tournament play in Atlanta on April 13.
The Gym Dogs were the hosts of the SEC Championships at the Gwinnett Arena, but they enjoyed no home floor advantage, finishing third in the seven-team field. Though the Red and Black finished in front of LSU (196.425), Kentucky (194.35), Arkansas (194.175), and Auburn (194.1), Georgia’s 196.575 trailed the 196.775 posted by second-place Alabama and the 197.15 notched by conference champion Florida.
Noel Couch’s 9.875 in the vault marked the Gym Dogs’ highest score in the event, in which the Athenians earned a 49.175, which did not measure up to the Crimson Tide’s 49.325 or the Gators’ 49.525. Kat Ding led the way on the uneven parallel bars with a 9.9 along the way to a 49.2 team tally. Alabama (49.275) and Florida (49.375) outperformed that total.
The balance beam showcased Shayla Worley’s 9.85 as part of a 49.05 overall score, which exceeded the Tide’s 48.825 and tied the Gators’ identical mark. Ding’s 9.875 paced a 49.15 effort in the floor exercise, where Florida cobbled together a 49.2 and Alabama put up a 49.35.
Georgia managed just one individual mark of 9.9 or better, while Alabama had four and Florida had seven. Ding’s 39.325 all-around score was only the eighth-best posted by a competing gymnast at the Gwinnett Arena, while Gator gymnasts made up three of the top five. After the meet, Jay Clark said: “We lost to two of the best teams in the country tonight.” That’s a polite way of saying that, when one is listing the best women’s gymnastics programs in the NCAA, two of the teams on that list are in the SEC, and neither of them is Georgia. On the big stage on which Suzanne Yoculan’s squads invariably excelled, Coach Clark’s club came up short, again.