The Aggies took the pitch Thursday evening with their best season in Division I history on the line.
On their way to posting the best Big West Conference record in school history, they defeated rivals Sacramento State and Cal Poly Pomona. They also earned a tie against 19th ranked UC Irvine, a golden goal win over Pacific and spent most of October building a five-game winning streak.
All of this added up to earn the fourth-place Aggies their first ever bid to the Big West Tournament.
Unfortunately for UC Davis, it was unable to finish the season with a win, falling to UC Irvine 1-0 and being eliminated from the conference tournament.
The Aggies finished the year 11-7-1, 4-3-1 in Big West action.
The Anteater offense fired early and often Thursday evening. They totaled eight shots in the first half, four of which were on target. However, UC Davis goalkeeper Maria Magana refused to let anything past her, saving all four of UC Irvine’s attempts on frame.
The Aggies tallied three shot attempts in the first half but UC Irvine’s goalkeeper Jennifer Randazzo blocked the only attempt on goal.
Neither team managed to score in the first frame and the half ended with a 0-0 tie.
The Anteater offense broke through 18 minutes into the second half when UC Irvine’s Amanda Hardeman scored the game’s only goal off an assist from teammate CoCo Goodson.
The Aggies took four more shots before the game was over but none managed to find the back of the net.
UC Davis kept fighting the entire game. Senior Lisa Kemp took a shot in the 87th minute but it bounced off the crossbar. Junior Allison Kelly tried again just eight seconds later but her shot went high.
Despite the loss, the Aggies can head into the off-season with their heads held high. This team accomplished more in Division I play than any team in school history, largely in part to the contributions of the nine seniors that will be graduating this year.
UC Davis will start next season with plenty of new faces but Coach MaryClaire Robinson is not worried about a drop in play.
“We have a lot of depth on our bench. Our young players have a lot of talent and discipline.”
The Aggies will have high expectations for themselves next year and look forward to kicking off their season next summer.
KIM CARR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.