Due to rain, we will be moving our game against Ole Miss to Roe Stamps Field at Georgia Tech.— UGA Men's Lacrosse (@ugalax) April 19, 2014
After a five-game winning streak was snapped and replaced by a three-game losing streak, the Georgia men’s club lacrosse team looked to halt a skid and conclude the campaign on a high note against Ole Miss in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon. The season ended with a win as the Bulldogs emerged victorious against the Rebels by a four-goal margin.
Not to be denied in their final outing of 2014, the Red and Black took an early lead when junior midfielder George Walker fed junior midfielder D.J. Nuckolls for the initial goal. Junior attack Michael Trainer snagged an interception, found twine with six minutes remaining in the opening quarter, and notched an assist on a pass to sophomore attack Kyle Reed to make it 3-0 for the good guys.
After the Mississippians pulled within one, Walker scored to open up a 4-2 edge. The Rebs tied it up before the break, but Trainer started the second half with the goal that put the Athenians out in front, 5-4. The back-and-forth battle continued, as the score was snarled, 7-7, early in the fourth period.
Walker broke the deadlock with the goal that gave him the hat trick and put Georgia ahead, 8-7, with twelve minutes left in the game. Freshman attack Phil McCarthy took the dish from senior midfielder Bobby Merryman to extend that advantage, and an exchange of goals made the score 10-8 as the clock ticked down toward the six-minute mark. The victory was cemented when junior faceoff specialist Harrison Cassada scored, and, appropriately, the final goal of the game came when senior midfielder Conner Reed assisted Trainer to make the final margin 12-8.
Though the Bulldogs’ final record of 7-7 was a disappointment after last year’s SELC championship, the team improved over the course of Billy O’Haire’s first season at the helm. Following a 1-4 start during which the Red and Black lost three of their first five games by double-digit margins, Georgia went 6-3 down the stretch and lost twice by five or fewer goals when second-half comebacks fell short against eventual division champions in outings played outside the Classic City. When the Georgia men’s club lacrosse team changed coaches after a successful season, Conner Reed explained that the Bulldogs "felt like a change was needed for us to grow." All growth comes with growing pains, as this season made clear, but the future of Georgia Bulldogs lacrosse remains bright.
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