With the season nearing its end, the Aggies came out firing at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Aggies entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed, where they’d face heavily favored No. 4 Denver.
UC Davis, though, didn’t step aside for the Pioneers to pass them by. The Aggies battled back for a 16-14 win in seesaw fashion on Thursday.
The win propelled them into the second round, where they faced tournament host Stanford – the No. 14 team in the nation.
The Aggies‘ tournament run came to a close against the Cardinal, but not before they made their mark on the tournament by showing Denver the door.
Thursday – UC Davis 16, Denver 14
The Aggies picked the right time to post their signature win of the season.
UC Davis upset the Denver Pioneers on Thursday evening in Palo Alto to advance to the second round of the MPSF Tournament.
The Aggies were led in the 16-14 shootout by sophomore Jacklyn Taylor, who scored the game-tying and game-clinching goals to cap off a career-high five-goal performance.
Leading scorer Brit Farquharson found the back of the Denver net four times. The sophomore scoring trio of Christina Corsa, Gina Hoffmire and Molly Lapolla contributed two goals apiece.
Defender Molly Peterson also had a goal as the cherry on top of a gritty performance by the Aggie defense.
“Denver has been one of the most respected teams in the conference,” said senior defender Eri Ichikawa. “It’s a huge upset for us to beat them.”
Ichikawa and Patrice Clark are the only seniors graduating from the very young Aggies roster. No UC Davis player went on to win all-league honors.
Denver goal Ashley Harman, meanwhile, was named conference Co-newcomer of the Year. Five Pioneers were named to the All-MPSF squad.
Not only were the Mustangs more decorated than the Aggies, but when the teams matched up during the regular season, the result was a lopsided 18-5 UC Davis home loss.
The Aggies combined scoring, defense and great goalkeeping by Alyssa Cranska on Thursday to pull off the huge upset in the quarterfinals.
“It was the perfect game,” Ichikawa said. “Everyone was on the right page.“
Friday – Stanford 17, UC Davis 3
The Aggies tried to turn the momentum of their quarterfinals upset of Denver into a win in the semis against top-seeded Stanford.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, it was unable to play Cinderella once again this time around.
The Cardinal were led by MPSF Player of the Year Lauren Schmidt and Amy Bokker, who won MPSF Coach of the Year in her first season at the helm in Palo Alto.
Farquharson led the Aggies with two goals, Lapolla netted the other and Corsa recorded a pair of assists to feed the scorers.
The loss brought the tourney to a close for the Aggies, who moved up from the fifth seed to finish fourth overall.
UC Davis closes out its season with senior day on Saturday. It will host the Louisville Cardinals at noon at Aggie Stadium.
JOHN S. HELLER can be reached at email@example.com.