When the women’s soccer team dropped to 0-3 in a year with injuries depleting the Aggies’ depth, coach Maryclaire Robinson said the rest of the season wouldn’t depend on just one player stepping up.
Success down the stretch, however, would hinge upon how well the underclassmen played.
“One person isn’t going to cut it,” Robinson said. “The key is going to be how our younger players handle the situation.”
The youth on the roster truly stepped in the Aggies’ 2-1 victory over Big West Conference foe UC Santa Barbara.
Freshmen Bridget Berman and Ashley Edwards each netted goals in the first half of play to give UC Davis a lead it would not relinquish.
“This is a huge win,” Robinson said. “Beating a team like Santa Barbara is a really quality win for us.”
The Aggies took charge of the game early as they scored two goals within the opening 20 minutes.
Twelve minutes in, junior Lisa Kemp dribbled down the right side of the box and sent a cross to Berman, who headed the ball home from eight yards out. Berman’s second goal of the season gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
Barely three minutes passed when a defensive miscue near the Gauchos’ goal let Edwards take a shot from ten yards out. She would not waste the opportunity as she stretched the UC Davis lead to two.
The Aggie defense kept the Gauchos from scoring until midway through the second period. In the 69th minute, UC Santa Barbara would finally get on the board with a goal from Kailyn Kuger.
The defense weathered a second half that saw eleven shots from the Gauchos. Goalkeeper Maria Magana posted four saves after she took over for Kathleen Brandl who also posted three saves.
“They really came after us in the second half,” Robinson said. “They snuck one in to get on the board, but overall we had great team defense.”
After playing two games every weekend for the past month and a half, the Aggies got a chance to rest a bit this weekend with only one game on the schedule. They have another opportunity to get a road conference win when they take on Pacific on Oct. 21.
MATT WANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.