This morning, I had the good fortune to be in the Classic City for the start of the 2014 Georgia women’s club lacrosse season. The Red and Black lax ladies were gracious enough to allow me to set up a table at the intramural fields to sign and sell some copies of Fighting Like Cats and Dogs, and, while I was in town, I got to see the third-ranked Bulldogs sweep a double-header to open the campaign with a 2-0 record.
In the 10:00 a.m. outing against the visiting Yellow Jackets, Georgia dominated from the opening draw. Freshman goalie Caroline Youngs had a pair of early saves to set the pace for a solid initial performance in the cage at the collegiate level, and junior attack Parisa Ayers followed up the season’s first goal with a forced turnover to return possession to the good gals.
The home team swiftly built up a 4-0 lead on a free position shot by junior attack Jenna Dreyer, a roll of the crease by senior attack Emma Goodnow, and a transition goal by sophomore midfielder Mady Katz. Another Georgia takeaway, this time forced by junior defender Cat Winslow, paved the way to a second score by Dreyer, who later left the game with a hemorrhaging scalp injury that temporarily turned her from a blonde into a redhead.
The Red and Black kept it rolling with a defensive stop and a succession of goals by Katz, sophomore midfielder Arden Birdwell, Goodnow, and Ayers before the rookies began to get in on the act with scores by freshman attack Maddie Hunter and freshman midfielder Nilla Paine. Youngs continued to stop shots by Georgia Tech as senior midfielder Callie Wheatley and senior midfielder Lindsay Brinker scored to stake the Bulldogs to a 13-0 halftime lead. Junior midfielder Wallace Morgan and senior midfielder Candace Ellery also were among those who notched goals after intermission as Georgia coasted to an 18-2 triumph over the Ramblin’ Wreck.
The Clemson women proved to be a somewhat more daunting foe for the hometown ladies in the noon game, but Georgia prevailed by an 18-6 final margin. Senior attack Murphy Ferguson led the early scoring against the Tigers, and Hunter closed out the first half with an interception and a goal to stake the Bulldogs to an 11-1 edge at the break.
The Orange and Purple declined to go quietly, recording two quick goals to start the second half, but the Red and Black rebounded with an answering score by Ayers, a turnover forced by senior defender Kelly Arnhart, and a free position goal by Dreyer, who had gotten cleaned up and rejoined the lineup. The remainder of the game was a track meet, but Georgia continued to keep pace anytime Clemson battled back, and the day ended with the Red and Black sporting a 2-0 ledger for the young season.
The 21st-ranked Georgia men’s club lacrosse team also opened its 2014 season at the intramural fields with a white out this afternoon, but the Red and Black gents did not share in their sisters’ success. No. 10 Boston College, fresh from a 9-8 win over No. 20 Georgia Tech in Atlanta last night, carded a 15-5 victory over the Bulldogs in Athens today.
The Red and Black men will be back in action against SELC South West Division foe Vanderbilt in Nashville next Saturday, while the Georgia women are scheduled to square off with SWLL opponent Alabama in Athens on February 8.
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