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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Aggies start strong despite playing six of seven on road

Soccer is an exciting sport.

If you’ve been following the UC Davis women’s soccer team, you’d know that.

With a double overtime tie against Cal State Bakersfield, and another 3-2 overtime win against Fresno State, the women’s squad is easily one of the most thrilling teams on campus.

“I think we play an exciting style of soccer,” said coach Maryclaire Robinson.

The Aggies’ season, however, didn’t start off anywhere close to gripping. In their first and only exhibition game against St. Mary’s, the women’s squad looked flat. The Gaels outshot the Aggies, 20-7. While St. Mary’s managed seven of those shots on goal, UC Davis could not come up with one and lost 3-0.

But then the Aggies picked it up. In their first official game of the 2010 season, they traveled to Sacramento State and set the tone early with shots from Lisa Kemp and Samantha Faber. Sophomore phenomenon Allison Kelly scored her first collegiate goal – and would show in later games that her goal was no fluke.

While the Aggies’ offense shined in the first period, the second half showcased a stingy defense that withstood ten shots from the Hornets.

“There were a lot of shots from them,” Robinson said. “But they weren’t really close or really threatening.”

The Aggies stayed on the road as they took on Oregon and Oregon State in the University of Oregon Nike Tournament. Though they fell to both teams, UC Davis put up quite a show. It took late game heroics from the Ducks and the Beavers in order to seal the deal.

Against the Ducks, Kelly consistently managed to get free and take shots on Oregon’s goal, but could not get past the keeper. It was freshman Mary Beth Mazurek who scored the only Aggie goal in the 75th minute to bring the Aggies to within one. UC Davis would surrender a goal one minute later, however, to end all hopes of a comeback.

UC Davis would not let the earlier defeat hamper its performance against the Beavers. Though they were outshot 15-10, the Aggies managed three shots on frame while keeping the Beavers to two. In the end, both defenses shined, but a goal in the last two minutes from Oregon State would cause the Aggies to go winless in the tournament.

After playing five games on the road, the women’s squad came back to Davis and played host to Cal State Bakersfield. The offense looked strong. Kemp took six shots and earned an assist as one of Kelly’s five shots found the back of the net. The Aggies could not muster up a finish, however, and had to settle for a 1-1 double-overtime tie in their first home game.

Another road trip for the Aggies resulted in a 3-2 overtime win over Fresno State. It didn’t look good for the Aggies early as the Bulldogs took an early 2-0 lead. But Kelly cut the deficit in half with a goal on a penalty kick in the 42nd minute. Late game heroics from Annacy Wilson sent the game into overtime where Faber scored the winning goal.

The Aggies continued their travels and headed to Las Vegas for the UNLV Rebel Classic. UC Davis beat Akron 2-0 on goals from Kemp and Faber.

The Aggies were edged in their next match 2-1 by host UNLV. Both offenses started out strong as they were trading shots. Both squads found the back of the net before the 15th minute and the score remained the same up to halftime. A goal early in the second half would be the difference, however.

After seven games, the Aggies are 3-3-1, an impressive feat considering that six matches have been on the road. The rest of the season bodes well for UC Davis as seven of its final 11 games are at home.

Eight of their last nine games will be against conference opponents, meaning the Aggies won’t have to spend many hours on the road against conference opponents.

The Aggies will host the University of San Francisco at 5 p.m. on Friday.

MATT WANG can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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