Beyond the Hedges: Fall Sports season ending round up

Tiaria Griffin is the Lady Dogs' leading scorer despite not being a starter. - Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
So, with the fall collegiate athletics season winding down, and Georgia students enjoying final exams for the fall semester, we figured now was a good time for a long overdue catch up on things happening away from the gridiron. We all know how the football season has gone, disappointing and the ending stayed in theme with the rest of the year.

Volleyball

We'll start at the net, as head coach Lizzy Stemke led Georgia to their most wins since 1994 (22-10 record on the season), and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004. Unfortunately, the ride ended this past weekend against American in a 3-0 defeat in the first round. Congrats to Coach Stemke and all her girls for their terrific work this season.

Track and Field

As we told you on Halloween, former UGA track signee Jarryd Wallace is continuing his elite success in the world Paralympic competitions. Aside from that, georgiadogs.com has a video report on what's being going on at the Spec Towns.

Baseball

New coach Scott Stricklin has been slowly assembling his squad this fall. They played some fall ball, had some outings, worked on things, and signed a bunch of players. The early returns on Stricklin seem promising, but you never know until games get played. And as for recruiting, baseball is a tricky beast. As former coach Dave Perno once told me, "you want to recruit well, but not too well" meaning you of course need to have quality, talented players to take the field, but if you sign the best out there you are unlikely to ever see any of them on your team once the MLB draft takes them to the pros.

Softball

Lu Harris-Champer's Diamond Dawg Darlings have had a similar fall, playing a little fall ball, and bringing in new recruits.

Women's Golf

The Lady Spoilers of a Good Walk had a disappointing fall campaign it seems, but they are enjoying their break and should be back ready to roll come February when the real season begins for them.

Men's Golf

The men out on the links had a little more success in the fall, with senior Joey Garber medaling for the first time in their final event at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Like the ladies, the men are anxious for the spring it seems and have the talent to make some noise too.

Women's Tennis

Jeff Wallace's squad signed the state's top player this fall, got in some good work concluding at the National Indoors in November, and helped Team USA bring home victory in France. That's not a bad way to get ready for next spring.

Men's Tennis

Manuel Diaz's Dawgs brought in a pair of promising newbies to compete this spring, dominated the Bulldog Scramble to get some good work in, did well but not as well at the National Indoors, and celebrated 25 years under arguably the best coach in the college game at their season ending banquet.

Swimming and Diving

Jack Bauerle's wetheads enjoyed a solid fall, concluding with a strong performance at Auburn. They won multiple events, posted some of the fastest times nationally this fall, and had a couple of automatic qualifiers for the NCAA meets next spring. They also had a trio win Golden Goggles from USA Swimming for their success this past year, Chase Kalisz, Shannon Vreeland, and Megan Romano getting the honors.

Cross Country

Georgia's mens cross country team won the NCAA South Regional, where the women finished 6th. Things didn't go quite as well at the full NCAAs, with the men finishing 31st. And congratulations go out to distance coach Patrick Cunniff, who was named the South Region's Men's Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association).

Gymnastics

You can catch action this year if you live away from Athens, thanks to a dozen meets being televised for the Gymdawgs this season. Georgiadogs.com also has up a fall preview, and with holiday baking season upon us a Cupcake Wars video.

Soccer

The kicking Dawgs had an improved, but disappointing season this fall. They improved their record to 12-7-1 this season, after finishing 7-11-2 last year. Their season ended on November 6th when the fell against South Carolina at the SEC Tourney, with the Lady Dawgs expecting to return 6 starters from the first choice 11 to next year's squad. You can catch the season ending Q&A with coach Steve Holeman at georgiadogs.com or in this sentence's link. Senior defender Torri Allen and freshman striker Marion Crowder earned All Region nods, and the entire team took home academic honors. Senior Madeline Barker joined Allen and Crowder making the all conference team. While Crowder and freshman midfielder Gabby Seiler earned a chance for the US u20 national team thanks to their fine displays.

Equestrian

Perennial national championship contending Georgia equestrian closed out their fall slate with an impressive win over TCU in Ft. Worth, TX. They also signed a bevy of new athletes, while freshman Liza Finsness and sophomore Heather Schmidt earned Rider of the Month honors for November from both the SEC and nationally.

Women's Basketball

Andy Landers' Ladies have been cruising so far this season, starting 8-0 and currently ranked 16th in the country. It's been usual early season basketball fare to feast on, but there has been impressive victories over major conference foes Georgia Tech and Ohio St. also. They'll tip off again Thursday in Nashville at Belmont in their first true road test (all games have been in Athens except for the most recent matchup against Georgia St in Atlanta) before returning home to host Kennesaw St. Sunday at 2 in Stegeman. This Sunday's game will be on CSS. Landers has used 8 players a good bit so far, with senior PG Khaalidah Miller (11 pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists per game), junior SG Erika Ford (just under 12 pts and 6 boards per), and sophomores Tiaria Griffin (leading the team at 15 pts per game mostly off the bench) and Shacobia Barbee (11 pts, 9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and almost 3 steals per game) leading the way. The team is going to be up tempo this year, with little inside in terms of experience or size (as much of the team is under 6').

Men's Basketball

Since losing to Tech, the season has continued to be a struggle for Mark Fox's 3-4 HoopDawgs. They followed up the Yellow Jacket game with 3 losses at the Charleston Classic (vs. Davidson, Temple, and Nebraska, which we'll pretend never happened). But since then, they've come home and defeated Appalachian St before trouncing Chattanooga. The team is studying up for finals now, with their season resuming this weekend on Saturday the 14th when Lipscomb comes to the Classic City for a 4 p.m. game.

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