This weekend, the best defense was a good offense.
In the Spartan Invitational Tournament, the Aggies put up a total of 37 goals over four games, including a 20-7 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay.
Though the Aggies can be pleased with their offense, coach Jamey Wright was especially satisfied with the gutsy play of Riane Woods, his sophomore goalie, who amassed 29 saves over the weekend.
“We were without Rachel [Tatusko],” Wright said. “It was the first time in 28 years that I only had one goalie heading into a tournament. I wanted to keep [Woods] in bubble wrap to keep her from getting injured.”
The Aggies are now 3-2 on the young season.
Saturday – No. 8 San Jose State 13, No. 16 UC Davis 9
After Spartan Allie Stewart scored a school-record eight goals earlier this season, the Aggies realized that they had to contain the prolific scorer.
What the Aggies didn’t know, however, was the Spartans also had outside shooter Timi Molnar.
“In the first quarter we didn’t react well,” Wright said. “We were prepared to defend Allie. What we were not prepared for was the freshman from Hungary.”
Molnar, from Budapest, Hungary, would go on to score five goals against UC Davis in the Spartan victory.
Hat tricks from Ariel Feeney and Dakotah Mohr brought the Aggies close, but it was their inability to convert 6-on-5 power plays that did them in.
“I really feel like our offense was good, but not great,” Wright said. “To score nine goals and draw nine exclusions, that’s good. We played good frontcourt offense with the glaring exception of 6-on-5.”
Saturday – UC Davis 20, Cal State Monterey Bay 7
Saturday’s earlier loss against the Spartans didn’t stop the Aggies in the afternoon game. In fact, it seemed as if they were more focused to attack Cal State Monterey Bay’s tricky defense.
“[The Otters] drop one defender back in the goal so that their goalie guards less of the goal,” Wright said. “It can really confuse an offense.”
Wright saw it as so confusing, it warranted spending valuable time analyzing it with his team.
“We talked extensively and used an entire practice for their defense,” Wright said. “The team did phenomenally.”
Eleven Aggies scored in Saturday’s nightcap, including a team-high, four-goal performance from Mohr in her second game in over a year.
Sunday – No. 3 California 13, UC Davis 5
Though UC Davis took what seems to be a lop-sided defeat at the hands of the Golden Bears, Wright claims that the box score didn’t tell the whole story.
“Against Cal, we played a good two-thirds of the game,” Wright said. “[The defense against Cal] was the thing I was the happiest about.”
UC Davis limited Cal to only one goal on five 6-on-5 opportunities. Woods amassed nine saves in goal.
Sophomore Jessica Dunn led the Aggies with three goals with Carmen Eggert and Feeney chipping in one apiece.
Sunday -UC Davis 13, Santa Clara 8
Ending the tournament on a high note, the Aggies took down former conference rival Santa Clara with balanced scoring that occurred early and often.
UC Davis set the tone with a six-goal first quarter and the Broncos were never able to recover as UC Davis continued to pour it on.
Mohr continued her dominance, leading a total of eight Aggies with a team-high four goals and giving her 11 goals on the weekend.
UC Davis’ next game will be against No. 15 Indiana at home on Friday at 4 p.m.
MATT WANG can be reached at email@example.com