As the Georgia women’s club lacrosse team’s season quickly approaches in February, head coach Natalia Scott and her players are in pursuit of the school’s first national title after finishing No. 2 last year in their Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates division.
Last season, the Bulldogs claimed the most wins of the WCLA division I teams and finished second in the nation after a hard-fought battle against Boston College in the national championship.
This season, the Bulldogs are determined to further their success on the field while growing closer off of it as well.
“I think this last year and this upcoming year is some of the closest that I’ve ever seen [the team]” Scott said. “I think we just have a great culture that you really don’t find on a lot of other teams, especially ones as competitive as this team is.”
At the start of the season, the team elected seniors Katelyn Sparks, Liv Hoekman and Whitaker Welch as team captains. Seeing as club teams are student-led, the captains have a great deal of responsibility and are in charge of day-to-day duties and leading practices.
Sparks, a fourth-year finance major, has been on the team for three years and now leads the team as captain and club president. Sparks said that although winning a national championship is one of her main goals, this season she is also prioritizing her teammates’ mental health and overall well-being. She began this effort during the preseason by having a UGA Student Care and Outreach representative speak to the team during practice.
“It’s important that my teammates get the help they need, when they need it, from the right people,” said Sparks.
The Bulldogs’ success in their preseason training has encouraged Sparks and the rest of the team that they are capable of bringing home a national title this year. The Bulldogs welcomed six new players to the team this season and started strong in their preseason scrimmage against Clemson, winning 11-8.
Georgia looks forward to an exciting season and hosting their first tournament, the Big Dawgs Classic, in Alpharetta from Feb. 9 to 11.
“[Tournaments are] always on the west coast so we’re hoping to bring that to the east coast now,” said Scott.
Looking ahead, the Bulldogs are confident that their teamwork and determination will lead them to many successes this season, which begins Feb. 3 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.