If there is one common feature among all successful teams, it’s that they keep their eyes on the prize.
Despite losing 11-1 to Stanford, the first-place team in the NorPac Conference, Coach Vianney Campos and her team know that what really matters is the post-season conference tournament.
“We can’t change our goals because of one game,” Campos said. “If we make it to the championship game we’ll probably have to play Stanford again. If that happens, our girls will have a huge chip on their shoulder. They never go out there expecting to lose.”
From the outset of the game, Stanford proved why it is ranked 13th in the country as the Cardinal had 33 shots, 27 of which were on-goal.
Stanford’s onslaught of shots allowed everybody to get into the mix as seven different players accounted for 11 scores.
Midfielder Midori Uehara was a standout for the Cardinal as she led her team with eight shots on goal, three of which found the back of the net.
After falling behind 7-0 going into halftime, it was apparent that the UC Davis defense was struggling.
“What went wrong was our marking up,” said Campos. “Every time they had the ball in the circle, we let them score. We didn’t play man to man when we should have.”
Freshman forward Liz Siemion accounted for the lone UC Davis goal. In total, the Aggies had six shots – four of which were on goal – and five penalty corners.
With the large deficit, Campos decided to shake things up, putting in back up goalkeeper Conley Cravin.
“Conley had her first minutes ever,” Campos said. “She went out there and played like she’d been doing it all year. She really impressed us so she may see more minutes in the future. Playing time on this team is really based on performance during practice so we’ll see how this week goes.”
Despite the tough loss, the Aggies believe in the system they have in place.
“We can’t change our game plan because of one loss,” Campos said. “We need to work on a few things like marking up in the circle, executing the pass in from the corner and just finishing in general. If we improve on the basics, we’ll be fine.”
While the Aggies still need to improve, their competitiveness will not be lacking as they head into their final two regular season contests.
“They are all doing really well,” Campos said. “They hate losing. They’re all really, really competitive. We had to tell them to never give up, and they didn’t. They showed so much intensity and fight. They really impressed us. Our girls are fighters.”
Next week the Aggies face the California Golden Bears in their final home game this season.
MARK LING can be reached at email@example.com.