It was a bittersweet end to the Aggies season.
After falling to UC Irvine on day one of the Big West Conference Championships, UC Davis turned around and defeated Long Beach State to earn fifth place for the conference.
Despite ending the season on a win, coach Jamey Wright wanted more.
“We were all disappointed with the [UC] Irvine result,” Wright said. “The team did do a good job rebounding for the Long Beach [State] game, however.”
With the weekend split, the Aggies finished 16-17 on the season. Freshmen Jessica Dunn led UC Davis with 44 goals on the year. Senior Casey Hines finished her UC Davis career on a high note, stopping 20 shots for the weekend and 257 for the season.
Friday – No. 16 UC Irvine 9, No. 17 UC Davis 3
For UC Davis, the third time wasn’t the charm.
The Aggies were unable to top the eventual tournament champion Anteaters, falling to UC Irvine for the third time this season.
“We came into this one pretty confident,” Wright said. “We had a good week of practice, but we didn’t execute the game plan.”
Dunn scored within the opening minute, to give the Aggies a quick 1-0 lead. This, however, would be UC Davis’ only lead of the game.
UC Irvine tacked on three in the first period and two in the second to gain a commanding lead it would not lose. The Anteaters added four more after the break en route to the victory.
Sophomore Carey Faber and freshman Carmen Eggert netted one a piece in the loss.
Wright attributed the loss to poor defensive play and allowing the Anteater shooters to get too many good shots off.
“Irvine was on their game and a couple of our mistakes were compounded by their good shooting,” Wright said. “If you’re going to lose, might as well lose to the champions.”
Sunday – UC Davis 12, Long Beach State 7
Wright didn’t consider this game to be the last of the 2010 season.
He thought of it as the first of the 2011 season.
“We approached this as the first game of next year for the returners,” Wright said. “We wanted go into next season with some positive karma from this game.”
The Aggies were able to finish the season on a positive note, thanks to strong first and third quarters.
UC Davis never trailed, as it jumped out to a three-goal lead in the opening minutes.
Dunn’s five goals led seven different Aggie scorers. Junior Michelle Hook and sophomore Kaylee Miller each added two in the season finale.
“We got a lot of positive contributions from everyone,” Wright said. “Our bench really played well.”
Wright also noted how physical the game was. He was glad to see some of the younger players still performing well against a more physical team.
The Aggies will only lose two seniors this season, so experience will be the strength of the team as it moves forward.
“I’m very optimistic about where this team can go in the future,” Wright said. “We had a couple key players red-shirt this year and a majority of our scoring came from underclassmen. This team has potential.”
Not only does Wright see the Aggies’ potential, but the team noticed this as well.
“This team feels like they played well this year, but nowhere near their potential,” Wright said. “They know they’re young but talented at the same time. Next year should be very exciting.”
JASON ALPERT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.