Teams: UC Davis at California
Records: Aggies 0-0; Golden Bears 0-0
Where: Millett Field – Berkeley, Calif.
When: Saturday at 2 p.m.
Who to watch: Senior Gina Hoffmire was a dynamic scorer for the Aggies in 2010.
The Corte Madera, Calif. native led UC Davis with 50 goals last season and was voted by her teammates as the 2010 Offensive MVP.
Did you know? UC Davis was named the nation’s most improved team in 2010 by LaxPower.com.
The Aggies made the jump from a 6-12 record in 2009 to 10-6 last season. With the improvement, UC Davis moved into the top 50 of Lax Power’s power rankings.
Preview: With great improvement comes high expectations.
“We plan to continue building,” said coach Elaine Jones. “We’re going to set the bar higher. It was great that we did well last year, but this is a whole new season.”
If the Aggies want to continue getting better, however, they will have to fill the voids left by last years’ seniors.
Though UC Davis lost just three seniors, the trio of players combined for over a third of the Aggies scoring last season.
Graduated players Britt Farquharson and Molly Peterson started all of UC Davis’ 17 games last season, while Molly Lapolla started 14.
One positive for UC Davis is that they have plenty of experience on the team to fill the voids left behind.
“We have good senior leadership this year,” Jones said. “Not that we didn’t last year, but this season we have more of them that will be on the field. They have to play like seniors and lead the team. They’re all capable of doing that.”
The Aggies will need their seniors to be prepared right from the start. UC Davis begins its season with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game against California this week, a game it hopes will lend a positive start to 2011.
“We need to focus on the game so we can start 1-0,” Jones said. “We need to take a game-by-game approach and Cal is just the first step.”
UC Davis’ lone preseason performance was at the Stanford Playday, an exhibition event that pitted the Aggies against regional competition.
Jones feels the Playday was a good measuring stick before entering season play.
“It allowed me to see what we need to do and what we need to focus on,” Jones said. “It was a good experience and it was a good start.”
A win over the Golden Bears would be a great way for the Aggies to start the year, and it could set them on the path to achieving their ultimate goal for this season.
“Our whole team knows that our end goal is to win the conference,” Jones said, “but there’s a long list of things we need to do to achieve it.”
– Trevor Cramer