UC Davis took a break from their NorPac Conference schedule for a three-game swing in the Midwest.
On their previous road trip, the Aggies had pulled off three straight victories.
This excursion did not yield the same encouraging result.
Thursday – No. 23 Northwestern 5, UC Davis 0
The trip got off to a slow start for the Aggies.
Northwestern’s Chelsea Armstrong scored in just the second minute of play and the Wildcats never looked back.
Armstrong proceeded to score three more goals in the game as Northwestern locked down a comfortable 5-0 victory.
UC Davis was outshot 21-1 for the game, with their lone attempt coming from freshman Cloey LemMon.
The Aggies felt they were outmatched by their opponent.
“They were the best team we’ve faced all year,” said coach Vianney Campos. “We were expecting a very good team, but we hadn’t seen a team with that much pace and skill. I feel like we were shocked by how well they played. They were just better than us.”
Saturday – No. 22 Indiana 1, UC Davis 0
Things didn’t get any easier for the Aggies as they faced another ranked opponent in the second game of the trip.
In this match, however, UC Davis got off to a much better start as it held the Hoosiers scoreless through the first half.
Indiana broke through in the second half, however, and scored the only goal of the game in the 43rd minute to take the 1-0 victory.
UC Davis goalkeeper Lauren Sawvelle posted 10 saves in the game. Campos felt the Aggie defense should be proud of its efforts.
“We held them really well,” Campos said. “Giving up just one goal to them was really good. We just need to see more confidence in our forwards. We had a few chances to put the ball in the cage. We just need to show more confidence.”
Sunday – UC Davis 3, Ball State 2
Following the two scoreless games, the Aggies set a new goal for their match against Ball Sate.
“We wanted to score in the first five minutes,” Campos said. “That was the way for us to respond.”
The Aggies did just that as sophomore forward Nadia Namdari scored an unassisted goal less than two minutes into the game.
The score was the team-leading sixth of the year for the Escondido, Calif. native.
Sophomore Marissa Hughes added a second for UC Davis on a penalty stroke just over 10 minutes in, and the Aggies had an early two-goal lead.
The Cardinals responded, however, scoring in the 28th minute to cut the deficit to one.
UC Davis answered just two minutes later on a goal from freshman Cloey LemMon, but Ball State scored in the 35th to send the game to halftime at 3-2.
The UC Davis defense held strong after the break, holding Ball State scoreless for the rest of the game as the Aggies went home with a victory, finishing the three-game swing with a record of 1-2.
Despite posting a losing record on the road trip, the Aggies felt the games were a successful growing opportunity.
“It was a big test for us mentally,” Campos said. “We saw a different level of skill from these teams. They’re national powerhouses and we want to get to that level. We have to face these teams to see how good we need to get. No one likes coming home with two losses, but we learned a lot. I’m proud of the way we handled this road trip.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.