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Georgia Club Lacrosse Teams Square Off with Rivals at Atlanta Area High Schools

Both Bulldog lacrosse squads were in action in the metropolitan Atlanta area this weekend, with the ladies competing in conference tourney play at Lassiter High School and the gentlemen tackling their in-state rivals at Pope High School. Though both sets of Classic City Canines came up short to close out the weekend, the Red and Black continued to represent the University well in a series of hard-fought clashes with postseason implications.

The Georgia women’s club lacrosse team made short work of the opposition in Saturday’s SWLL Tournament action. In the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs took down Central Florida, 16-6. After UCF tied the game, 1-1, early in the contest, the Red and Black went on a 3-0 run to take command. A goal by sophomore midfielder Tali Brennan just before the break gave the Athenians a 10-4 halftime lead, and senior attack Murphy Ferguson opened the second half with the score that gave her the hat trick. Following Ferguson’s fourth goal of the outing, sophomore midfielder Mady Katz notched back-to-back scores and junior midfielder Katie Ezell recorded a hat trick of her own as Georgia cruised to the easy victory.

Against South Carolina in the semifinals, the Bulldogs did not anticipate a similar laugher, as Georgia beat the Gamecocks by only a single goal during the regular season. However, the Red and Black dispensed with the Garnet and Black with relative ease this time. A save by freshman goalie Caroline Youngs and a spin move by Ezell gave the Athenians the initial lead.

The two teams traded goals until the score was 2-2, at which point Ferguson scored a left-handed goal and followed it up by finding the back of the net on a free position shot. Four straight goals by junior attack Jenna Dreyer gave Georgia an 8-2 lead, in the midst of which South Carolina drew a yellow card for a dangerous shot that struck sophomore midfielder Arden Birdwell in the head. The Gamecocks clawed to within two of the Bulldogs, but Ferguson buried a free position shot and senior midfielder Callie Wheatley scored on a roll to the right. Goals by Katz, Dreyer, and senior attack Emma Goodnow (on a free position shot after another South Carolina yellow card) made it a 13-6 game with two minutes remaining until the break. The Red and Black led by six at intermission and went on to notch a 19-9 win at the end of a second half during which the Garnet and Black drew a yellow card for striking Ezell in the face with a shot.

Unfortunately, the Georgia men’s club lacrosse team was not as successful on Saturday as the ladies were. Although the Red and Black male alumni defeated their Georgia Tech counterparts, 7-2, in the "old timers" game, the Yellow Jackets leapt out to a 6-1 lead on the Bulldogs late in the second quarter of the contest between current collegians. Despite second-half goals by sophomore attack Kyle Reed and junior midfielder George Walker, the Ramblin’ Wreck held on to win, 11-6, in a rivalry game in which the playoffs were on the line.

The weekend ended with another Georgia loss to a longtime rival, but the ladies made it close in the SWLL Tournament finals on Sunday, as the fifth-ranked Bulldogs took on the No. 2 Gators. Florida controlled the opening draw and leapt out to a 2-0 lead before the Red and Black tied it up with free position shots by Goodnow and Dreyer. The Sunshine State Saurians continued to dominate the draws, yet the Classic City Canines were able to forge a 4-4 score at the half.

Florida scored twice after intermission, but Dreyer fed freshman attack Maddie Hunter as she broke in from the right and cut the deficit to 6-5. The two teams continued to trade goals until Ezell snarled the score at 8-8 with eleven minutes to play. A 9-9 tie was broken in the final three minutes when Dreyer passed to Katz for the goal that gave the Bulldogs their first lead. Junior attack Parisa Ayers extended the Athenians’ advantage to two by scoring on an open net, but the Orange and Blue scored twice in the final 60 seconds to send the game to overtime, where Georgia got the first goal but Florida notched the next two to claim the conference title by a 13-12 score.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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