UC Davis entered the weekend looking to improve its record against Big Ten Conference opposition.
On their prior road-trip to the Midwest, the Aggies posted a 0-2 record against Indiana and Northwestern.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, this two-game swing offered more of the same as the Aggies struggled to get their offense going against strong opponents.
Saturday – No. 6 Ohio State 4, UC Davis 0
UC Davis did not get off to the start they were hoping for against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State struck early on an Aisling Coyle penalty stroke and the Aggies found themselves trailing less than five minutes into the game.
The UC Davis defense rebounded, however, and held Ohio State scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
In the second half the Buckeyes took control.
Ohio State scored three goals – two of which came from Coyle – and the Aggies lost by a score of 4-0.
Despite the defeat, UC Davis coach Vianney Campos was still proud of the defensive effort.
“Our defense is our backbone,” Campos said. “Our players have no fear and they showed that by holding them to one goal in the first half. They will do anything and everything to keep the ball out of our cage.”
Sunday – No. 7 Michigan 2, UC Davis 0
The UC Davis defense had a strong showing against Michigan as well.
Despite allowing the Wolverines to shoot 17 times, the Aggies held their opponent scoreless in the first half.
Michigan was able to find the cage twice in the second half, however, and UC Davis lost 2-0.
The Aggies were outshot 32-3 in the game, and Campos believes Michigan gained an advantage by seeing UC Davis play the day before.
“They watched us play against Ohio State,” Campos said. “I think they saw the holes in our team and they were able to capitalize on them. That’s what happens when you play a top-20 team.”
She also believes her team’s strategy contributed to the lack of offensive firepower on this road-trip.
“We change up our formations depending on our opponent,” Campos said. “This weekend we played with two forwards instead of three and it put us at a disadvantage offensively. We tried to get our midfield players forward, but we struggled to find shots.”
Despite the two losses, UC Davis isnt unhappy with the way it performed on this trip. Campos feels it is part of growing as a young team.
“Even though we didn’t come out on top, we don’t feel it was a failure,” she said. “It was a learning experience and that’s part of being a new program.”
She also thinks the lessons learned in these games could help her team in the NorPac Tournament.
“It’s been a mental thing for us,” Campos said. “There’s no doubt in our mind that we can compete at a high level, and we know we can do well at NorPac. We have a lot of confidence right now.”
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.