Last season left the UC Davis women’s soccer team unsatisfied and hungry for more. The Aggies spent their off-season haunted by the numerous one-goal losses that marred their record last year. This year’s squad is determined to turn it around and the plan is simple
win more games.
In order to do so, the Aggies spent their preseason working on their physical fitness and mental focus. UC Davis also welcomed back several veteran players who had been sidelined by injuries last season.
Coaches and players emphasized the importance of playing smart soccer for the full 90 minutes of each and every game. This year’s squad is intent on avoiding the mistakes that cost them precious games last year.
“It’s all about keeping the discipline and focus,” Coach MaryClaire Robinson said.
UC Davis has played well on both sides of the ball so far. The defense has producing three shutout performances, and held Creighton without a shot on goal.
Offensively, UC Davis has proven to be explosive, tallying multiple goals on four occasions. The Aggies have also used excellent teamwork in the attacking third. Eight Aggies have found the back of the net thus far, and six different players have tallied assists. Leading UC Davis on the score-sheet is senior Lisa Kemp who has netted three goals, while freshman Lexi Poppoff tops the squad with five assists.
The Aggies’ early season focus has paid off, as the team has gone 5-3 to start the year and has lost just once at home.
UC Davis’ early season success has been highlighted by their 1-0 win over rival Sacramento State. The victory gave UC Davis its first points in the Causeway Cup. The Aggies followed that win with victories over Creighton and UNLV.
While the Aggies have struggled statistically since then, posting road losses to Oregon and Oregon State in their two most recent contests, Robinson said she was pleased with her team’s effort in the Pacific Northwest.
It is her team’s motor that she believe will carry them through the season
“We’re going to do the hard work and bring the energy and play at a high tempo,” Robinson said. “We just need to play to our strengths.One of our goals is to maintain high energy in our training sessions and games.”
The Aggies believe that if they give full effort throughout the season, they will have a chance to lock down a top-four spot in the Big West Conference and secure a berth in the conference tournament.
If UC Davis plans to start its conference schedule with any king of momentum, however, it will need to get back on track quick. Coming off two straight losses, the Aggies will face just one more non-conference opponent before they open Big West play against UC Irvine Sept. 30. That contest will take place on Sunday when the Aggies play host to Nevada.
Despite the high stakes, UC Davis plans to stick to a simple mindset throughout the season.
“We just have to keep working hard and the results will flow from there,” Robinson said.
KIM CAR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.