Entering this season, coach Elaine Jones set a goal for the team to improve upon its overall record.
It’s safe to say the Aggies accomplished this goal.
UC Davis wrapped up its season with 11 victories, an improvement of five wins from last season. It was also the Aggies’ best season since 2004. Jones attributed the turn-around to the lack of captains on this year’s squad.
“Collective leadership was the biggest key to our success this year,” Jones said. “I’m very proud of the team and how it played over the course of the year.”
The Aggies went 1-1 at last weekend’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, finishing tied for third in the conference. Junior Gina Hoffmire finished the season with 50 goals, the team lead.
Thursday – UC Davis 13, Oregon 11
At last year’s MPSF Championships, the Aggies came in as the fifth seed and upset the fourth seed Denver.
UC Davis must have had déjà vu.
After falling to Oregon just two weeks prior, the Aggies topped the fourth seeded Ducks for the first round upset.
“I’m really proud of the team’s effort against Oregon,” Jones said. “We had to come back on multiple occasions and the team showed great mental toughness. It was amazing.”
Oregon jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the opening whistle, and went into halftime with a 6-4 advantage.
Both teams traded goals in the second half before the Aggies scored five unanswered to secure the 13-11 upset.
“[Oregon] even played better than it did the first time we played this season,” Jones said. “We are just the better team.”
Junior attacker Christina Corsa had a career game, scoring five goals en route to the victory. Hoffmire added four scores for her eighth hat-trick of the season.
Friday – No. 18 Denver 14, UC Davis 9
The Aggies’ season had to end eventually. What better way than to the top seeded team in the tournament.
After falling into a three-goal deficit, the UC Davis crept back to make it a one-goal game with 10 minutes left in the first period. The Pioneers, however, scored five of the next six goals to close out the half with a 9-4 lead. The two teams traded scores in the second half as the Pioneers cruised to the victory.
“We played Denver a lot better this time around,” Jones said. “We had our chances to take the lead, but we just didn’t finish our shots when we had the momentum. It was still a good effort all around.”
Junior goalie Alyssa Cranska had a season best 13 saves against 35 Denver shots. Senior Molly Lapolla led the Aggies with three goals in her UC Davis finale.
Jones said she expects bigger and better things out of her team next year.
“I really enjoyed coaching this year’s team and I’m pleased with the progress they made,” Jones said. “I always think there’s room to improve, however.”
JASON ALPERT can be reached at email@example.com.