Dogs Reach Sweet 16
Georgia's improbable run through the NCAA Tournament came to an end in the third round as eighth-seeded Dartmouth defeated the Bulldogs 2-1 in Hanover, N.H.
The Big Green took an early 1-0 lead in just the eighth minute of the match. Dartmouth had not allowed a goal at home all season, but Georgia rebounded in the 34th minute when Mandy Aiken scored off Nikki Ornelaz's flicked cross about 10-yards out. It was Aiken's 14th goal of the season.
Georgia took control early in the second half, but couldn't manage a second goal despite a few good chances. Dartmouth scored the game-winner in the 62nd minute when Katie Roda's shot hit the post but still managed to get past the goal line.
The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the match in the 73rd minute when a foul was called just outside the penalty area. Suzannah Weathersbee took the direct kick that managed to get through the Dartmouth wall, but it was cradled by Big Green keeper Kristin Luckenbill, the Ivy League Player of the Year.
Not only did Georgia lose the match Sunday, but the Bulldogs also lost 13 seniors who played their final match in a Georgia uniform. Seven seniors started on Sunday including the school's career leaders in every offensive category. Seniors accounted for 84% of Georgia goals this season, 80% of its assists, and 100% of its winning goals. Atlanta native Mandy Aiken finishes as the school's all-time leading scorer with 33 goals and 76 points. Suzannah Weathersbee will leave the all-time assists leader with 23. Stephanie Yarem was Georgia's first All-American last season, and along with Weathersbee and Allison Thornbury were named All-SEC in their respective careers.
Future's So Bright
Despite the loss of 13 seniors, the Bulldogs are extremely optimistic about next season. With its two main defensive players returning to a team that allowed just 1.06 goals per game Georgia will again battle for an NCAA bid. Keeper Nicole Williams and sweeper Stefanie Bertcher return in the back as will midfielders Kristy Bongiovanni and Sheila Gartman. Krista VanOudenallen also started six games this season before being sidelined with mononucleosis. Gina Forte saw valuable minutes in the NCAA tournament at outside midfield and with the return of Stacy Hunt, who missed this season with a torn ACL, at forward, the Bulldogs should stay among the top teams in the country.