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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Column: Sp’oscars,’ Part II

Here I am following through on my guarantee.

I bet you didn’t think Part II of the Sp’oscars’ would come so quickly, though.

Before I begin, I have a disclaimer: Athletes and coaches chosen as Sp’oscar’ winners don’t actually receive an award or real hardware – just my respect.

That should be good enough.

Best single-game performance by a female

Women’s soccer coach MaryClaire Robinson judges offensive success by how dangerous the offensive unit is.

This season, the lethal UC Davis offensive attack scored 11 more goals than the previous season.

Dangerous? I’d say so.

That unit, led by senior Rochelle VanBuskirk, was especially deadly in the fifth game of the season.

The Pleasant Hill, Calif. native kicked it into gear against Eastern Washington as she scored twice and assisted on three of her teammate’s other goals.

Overall, she was involved in five of her team’s six scores on the day as the Aggies defeated the Eagles on the road by a 6-1 margin.

Best single-game performance by a male

When wide receiver Chris Carter set a school-record with 18 catches in a game in mid September, it wasn’t just epic because it came against last season’s Football Championship Subdivision runner-up.

No. It was also an incredible feat considering he essentially shattered the previous record of 15 set by Tony Kays in 2005.

Carter left no question of who was best of this day as his catches accounted for 190 yards in total, a career high for the senior.

“Coach did a good job of moving me around between outside and inside receiver,” Carter said.

Carter holds the school’s all-time record for catches in a career with 213 and his 85 catches last year rank second in UC Davis history for a single season.

He was also named Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Best game

One of the goals football coach Bob Biggs set for his team at the beginning of the 2009 season was to beat Cal Poly.

Biggs got his wish.

UC Davis defeated Cal Poly 23-10 to capture the Golden Horseshoe, the first Aggie victory in the series since 2005.

“It was an unbelievable effort and a total defensive victory,” said co-captain Mike Morales after the game. “It feels so good. We’ve got blown out at home before and to only give up 10 points is icing on the cake.”

Besides for an early Mustang score, the Aggies dominated the contest, scoring through the air and on the ground.

The special teams stepped up big for the Aggies, too, as kicker Sean Kelley booted three field goals – one tying a school record- and cornerback Kenneth Brown blocked a Cal Poly field goal attempt.

“It was a great team win,” Biggs said. “There were so many contributions from so many people.”

Best moment

If you think going four years without beating a team is long, try 70.

That’s how long the drought was for the men’s basketball team against Pacific. During that time the Aggies had lost 49 straight times to the Tigers.

And preventing No. 50 wasn’t looking good after starting point guard Mark Payne was scratched from the lineup due to illness prior to the regionally televised Feb. 10 home contest.

However, the Aggies were able to overcome the absence of their star player, the historic streak and the first-place Tigers to win 62-59 in what was no doubt the best UC Davis sports moment of the year.

“It’s by far the best athletic moment I’ve had in my life, not just as an Aggie but overall,” said lone senior Dominic Calegari. “It’s the most amazing feeling I could ask for.”

The Aggies used an 11-2 run late in the first half to take the lead at halftime. The game remained close in the second period of play as neither team held a lead of more than five.

UC Davis pulled out the victory, though, and it in process took a 70-year monkey off its back.

The win also propelled the Aggies to their best season in the Division I post-season eligible era as they finished fourth in the Big West Conference.

MAX ROSENBLUM doesn’t think there will be a Part III of the Sp’oscars.’ That doesn’t mean he has a wealth of ideas. Help him out by contacting him electronically at sports@theaggie.org.

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