The UC Davis women’s lacrosse team hadn’t defeated California in eight years, but it held a 7-6 lead after 22 minutes of play.
Then history repeated itself once again.
Fueled by a subsequent 15-3 run, the Golden Bears roared back from the early one-point deficit to defeat the Aggies for the 10th straight time, 21-10, after leading just 11-9 at halftime.
“That was one of the best first halves that I have seen our team play,” said head coach Elaine Jones.
But the good play soon gave way to a 10-1 second-half scoring run by the Golden Bears.
“I told the players at halftime that we were definitely in the game and that we couldn’t let them go on a run in the second period,” Jones said. “But we let them go on a run.”
“It is disappointing to put together such a great first half and then lose momentum in the second half,” said senior midfielder Katie McMahon.
The Golden Bears were fueled offensively by goals from 10 different players, senior attacker Brittany Aungier, who scored a game-high six. Sophomore midfielder Alyse Kennedy added three scores and five assists for Cal.
In the first 5:28 of play, three different Aggies scored on their first three shots. Then Cal substituted out their freshman goalie Allie Shropshire for junior stopper Morgan Dyson.
The Aggies were only able to find the back of the net seven times in the remaining 54:32 as Dyson was rarely harassed, stopping five of only 12 UC Davis shots on goal.
Senior attacker Danni Zuralow scored three of her four goals on a 7-0 Cal run to begin the second half of play, which was more than enough to put the Aggies away as the Golden Bears dominated in every facet of the game.
“When you don’t win the draw control and don’t get the ball right off the bat it’s tough,” McMahon said. “You need possession to win the game, and we did not have that today.”
Cal held a 25-15 ground ball and a 21-12 draw control advantage. UC Davis was also out-shot 30-15 and coughed up 26 turnovers in the game.
“You can’t win games if you don’t take shots and you don’t have the ball,” said McMahon, who scored a team-high four goals.
Olivia Jarem, Katie McGovern and freshman midfielder Jacklyn Taylor each added two goals for the Aggies.
In front of the net for the Aggies, senior goalkeeper Hilary Harkins stopped nine of 30 shots, dropping her season save percentage to .388.
As UC Davis sets out on the road to play Cincinnati on Apr. 12, the team is still optimistic about finishing its season strong and improving its play.
“We just have to work and practice,” McMahon said. “We will look at the game film and we will see what we can improve on and move on from there. Now that we are in our fourth month, we just have to put games together.”
“That’s exactly what I would have said,” Jones said. “We will stay positive and look to get wins in our next couple of games as we head out on the road.”
MAX ROSENBLUM can be reached at email@example.com.