The fireworks were on display Friday at Schaal Aquatic Center as No. 16 UC Davis and No. 15 Indiana squared off.
The two evenly matched teams changed leads four times with no team gaining an advantage by more than two goals.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, the Hoosiers took a lead late in the overtime period and UC Davis fell 15-13. With the loss, the Aggies are now 3-3 on the young season.
UC Davis was aggressive early in the game, posting seven goals in the first half.
Attacker Jessica Dunn and Dakotah Mohr were instrumental in the early offensive barrage, providing the only offense in the first quarter.
“Offensively, [scoring goals] isn’t a problem,” said coach Jamey Wright. “We’re scoring enough to win.”
With the Aggies protecting a one-goal lead entering the second quarter, it seemed as if both teams stopped playing defense. Eight total goals were scored in the eight-minute quarter.
One reason for the high-scoring quarter came from Indiana’s 6-on-5 offense. The Hoosiers first six goals occurred when UC Davis was a woman down.
“[During our 6-on-5 defense], Indiana’s two post players didn’t score very much,” Wright said. “We pulled outside our shot-blocking responsibilities [leading to Indiana taking open shots].”
Despite the UC Davis defense struggling on Indiana power plays, the Aggies emerged from halftime with another one-goal lead. They were determined to add to it, as Dunn scored on the opening possession.
But within a minute, Indiana scored three straight goals, grabbing a one-score advantage. The Aggies would battle back, tying it up at nine goals apiece entering the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Indiana took a 12-10 lead with only 3:07 left on the clock.
“I think we made some defensive mistakes, some of them on my part,” Wright said. “Something we’ll take away from the game is we need to improve on defense.”
Though the Aggies fell away from their defensive strategies, they didn’t quit on the offensive end.
Clutch shots from Mohr and Carmen Eggert tied the game with a minute left, and the Aggies did what they couldn’t do all game – stop the Hoosiers as goalie Riane Woods played beyond her years.
In the final ten seconds, the freshman stopped two shots from entering the cage. The Aggie defense crashed on entry passes and made sure that the Hoosiers got no good looks during the closing minutes, ensuring that UC Davis would have a shot in overtime.
In the extra period, Woods stopped a 5-meter penalty shot and also racked up three of her nine saves on the game.
“Riane saved the day, especially in the 5-meter penalty shot against their best scorer,” Wright said.
Though Woods played admirably after regulation, UC Davis just couldn’t weather the barrage of shots or the aggressiveness of Indiana, falling 15-13.
Though UC Davis will play against their alumnae on Feb. 19, the Aggies will get a break until Feb. 26 when they travel to UC Irvine for the UCI Invitational.
MATT WANG can be reached at email@example.com.