Teams: UC Davis at Saint Mary’s
Records: Aggies 0-0; Gaels 0-0
Where: Saint Mary’s Stadium – Moraga, Calif.
When: Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Who to watch: Due to the departure of last year’s Big West scoring leader Rochelle VanBuskirk, the Aggies are going to have to find different ways to score. So far, coach Maryclaire Robinson is relying heavily on junior Rachel Kahn and senor Samantha Faber to provide key leadership.
“Rachel Kahn sets a good example,” Robinson said. “She’s a small, feisty player and does a great job of leading the team.”
Though the native of Danville, Calif. has shown impressive leadership in the past, midfielder Faber will also be integral to the Aggies’ performance throughout the year.
“I want to know if we can connect from the backfield to the midfield and midfield forward,” Robinson said.
Did you know? Though the Aggies’ home opener is nearly a month away, this exhibition game represents a homecoming to Faber. The midfielder played her high school ball at Campolindo High School, just two miles away from the St Mary’s campus.
Preview: Summer camp often evokes images of canoes, rope swings and singing by the campfire.
However, for the UC Davis women’s soccer team, camp means running, drills, training, sweat and hard work.
“We think of our training regimen as one big soccer camp,” Robinson said. “The athletes don’t have any academic concerns right now. If you love playing soccer, it’s pretty great.”
In training camp, coaches and assistants are working on opening up their season in the same fashion as last year, where the Aggies took a four game winning streak into mid-September. In one five-game stretch last season, UC Davis scored 20 goals. Only five other teams in the nation topped this feat last year.
Coaches are also working to ensure the Aggies finish strong this season. In 2009, the women’s soccer team went through an offensive slump by scoring only eight goals in their last 12 games. UC Davis also came out on the wrong end of many close games and tough losses.
“We were on the short end of a lot of 1-0 games,” Robinson said. “I think we are a hungry team. Now, we’re blessed with tremendous leadership and a lot of young legs.”
Over the summer, 10 athletes have committed to play soccer for UC Davis. Standing in the way of their first win is Saint Mary’s, a team that scraped out a win over the Aggies in two overtimes.
Because this is the Aggies’ first game of the season, Robinson is using this game to find the right set of players for UC Davis down the road.
“I’m going to try some personnel in different places this game and see how they respond,” Robinson said. “I’m really just trying to get some minutes and experience for the team in this game.”
– Matt Wang