Barker's Bites: Reflections After Non-Conference Play
Madeline Barker

Madeline Barker
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Sept. 24, 2013

The following is the fourth installment of a biweekly blog that senior Madeline (Maddy) Barker is penning for the Georgia soccer team during the 2013 season. Her blogs will be published exclusively on Georgiadogs.com.

By Maddy Barker

Eight straight wins.

We began this season with the intentions of making history, and with only one conference game under our belts, we have already begun to break records.

With our 2-0 win over South Carolina this past Friday night, we have officially embarked on our journey to be the best team UGA has ever produced. This is a special group of girls, especially with the addition of our SEC freshman of the week, Marion Crowder. Marion netted five goals last weekend against Long Beach State and the College of Charleston, then tacked on another goal Friday night against USC. She is on her way to a record-breaking season. This program is so fortunate to have such a talented freshman class. They truly have made a difference by bringing a whole new energy to this team on and off the field.

Along with the addition of 15 amazing freshman, we have our senior captain Laura Eddy back on the field. She scored one of the prettiest goals I have ever seen Friday night against USC, and her celebration dance was almost as amazing as her goal. I literally got chills watching her score her first goal since 2010 (1,069 days between goals). I am so happy for Laura. On top of her adorable celebration, she also was just awarded SEC Offensive Player of the week after her weekend’s efforts. Good things come to those who wait.  Patience is a virtue.  Sounds cliché, right? I truly believe that good things happen to people who are forced to be patient. Laura has been the model of patience while recovering from two ACL surgeries over the last two years. Her patience is finally paying off with her stellar presence in the midfield and her continuous “lead by example” persona.

Another example of patience paying off can be found in our SEC Defensive player of the week, Caitlin Woody. This girl has waited patiently for three years behind the highly decorated former Bulldog and England National Team player Ashley Baker before she finally got her chance to start in goal for the Bulldogs.  Woody hasn’t been scored on in the run of play all season. There is something to be said about the strength of our defense and the presence of Caitlin Woody. On another note, there is more good news for Woody this week. Caitlin Woody has just learned that she has been accepted into a program in Sarasota, Florida, where she will be working in an aquarium. I think you may now be able to guess which player dreams of working with whales and dolphins from last week’s quiz!

Something that I look forward to and will be one of the things I miss the most when this chapter of my life ends, is the line of little ones who wait at the gate to give high fives as we run on and off the field before the game, at halftime, and after the game. Among these little ones are Anna Mae Holeman, Bo Holeman, and Izzy Blank. I have watched these three kids grow like weeds since my freshman year here at UGA and I never tire of their hugs, “good lucks”, and “good games.” Last weekend after our Friday night game, the three of them formed a train behind me all the way back into our locker room and refused to let go until I made a “choo-choo” noise up to their standards. They are precious children and are a vital part of our team. I’ve enjoyed watching after the Holeman kids and was fortunate to attend one of Izzy’s soccer games when she scored the winning goal! It was a pleasure to have Anna Mae on my team this summer at soccer camp. They are at every game cheering their little hearts out, waiting patiently for their hugs and a chance to tell us about their week at school. That is part of what makes our program unique.

Another reason our program is special is because of the long-standing Big/Little Sister program we do here at UGA. Each year when a new group of freshman arrive, the upper classmen are assigned a “little sister” that we contact before they arrive on campus to offer advice and answer any questions they may have before their first day of school. When I was a freshman, Ashley Miller was my big sister and she set a standard for me to try to achieve when it was my turn to be a “big” to a “little”. This year my “little” is Morgan Orobello, a keeper from Florida. I don’t know how Coach Robin Confer goes about making assignments, but I think God had a hand in this pairing because she has been a blessing in my life since the day she got here. I adore this girl and have loved watching her work hard at practice. Unfortunately, she is in a boot due to some foot problems, but I never hear her complain. She has remained positive and always has a smile on her face. This program has given us chances to not only grow close with the one girl who is assigned to us, but I think any of the younger girls would feel comfortable to come to any of the upper classmen with questions. We are a family and I hope you can see that both on and off the field.

Having only one Friday night game last weekend, we were able to spend the entire day on Saturday focused on the other big fall sport at UGA – football!  Tailgating with our teammates and families, going to the Dawg Walk, and sitting in the drizzling rain to cheer on our football team was a great time together making memories.

We travel this weekend to both Missouri and Kentucky – two huge SEC match-ups, and I cannot wait to get there. Now for what I’m sure you all have been waiting for…. The answers to last week’s questions…!

*Which girls on our team are one half of a twin pair? (hint: there are five twins on our team)

Laura Eddy, (twin brother Andrew), Nicole Locandro, (twin brother Chris), Cara Smith, (twin sister Kelly), Tori Patterson, (twin brother Trey), Emma Sonnett, (twin sister Emily).

*Who aspires to be a dolphin trainer when she graduates from college?

Caitlin Woody

*Who was an Iron Kid's national champion and competed in triathlons as a child?

Laura Eddy

*Who has the most tattoos on our team?

Bella Hartley

*Who on our team is the farthest from home?

Summer Burnett (Hawai'i)

*Who is the closest to home?

Taylor Donohue (or Lauren Tanner?)

*How many girls have dual citizenships & to which country?

Nikki Hill – Canada

Chika Ibiam-Nigeria

Jill Maloney- Ireland

Tori Patterson- Jamaica

*Who does not eat meat on our team? (yet she is the strongest & holds the most weight room records)

Carli Shultis

*Who has the littlest foot on our team?

It’s a tie between Taylor Donahue and Anjelica Tabares with a tiny size 6!

*Who has spent New Year's Eve in New Zealand?

Meghan Gibbons

*Who turns 21 TODAY??

Nikki Hill

*Which player’s dad was my coach for three years?

Taylor Donahue’s dad, Coach Scott Donohue

Hope you learned some new things about our Bulldogs, and look for some more questions next week! Stay tuned and wish us luck this weekend. We hope to come home with two more wins!

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