UC Davis women’s soccer enjoyed one of its best seasons to date last year and they have no intentions of letting up now. The team has already used its considerable depth to fill holes left by last year’s graduating seniors.
Head coach MaryClaire Robinson has worked during the offseason to develop a team of athletes completely dedicated to physical intensity and mental toughness. Their efforts have earned a respectable seventh-place coach’s ranking in the Big West Conference as well as a record of 5-4-1.
UC Davis kicked off the season with a bang, earning a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Fresno State. Senior Allison Kelly and junior Ashley Edwards continued to lead the Aggie offense and scored a goal apiece against the Bulldogs. Coach Robinson was pleased with the win and was most impressed with the organization her team showed on the field.
“We’ve got a young group and they had a great showing,” Robinson said.
The Aggies moved on to play rival Sacramento State Hornets and the game ended up in a 0-0 tie after double overtime. While the offense may have been frustrated, UC Davis’ new goalkeeper, sophomore Taylor Jern, was able to show her skill and tallied five saves in the match.
UC Davis returned to the pitch with renewed vigor and topped Nevada 2-1. The victory over the Wolf Pack was far from easy and the Aggies did not seal the win until the 99th minute when freshman Ana Marija Sola scored the first goal of her Aggie career. Her goal combined with junior Kiele Argente’s first half score to give UC Davis the win. The Aggie defense was also impressive and Jern tallied another six saves.
The Aggies added another victory to their record after defeating the San Jose State Spartans 3-1. Edwards continued to lead the Aggie offense and scored another two goals in the match. Sophomore Lexi Poppoff also scored for the Aggies. Coach Robinson credited the defense and midfield for allowing the Aggies’ offensive explosion.
“If we can be goal scorers by commitee, that’s just going to be fantastic,” Robinson said.
A few days later, California handed UC Davis its first loss of the season by a score of 2-1. While the Aggies were disappointed with the loss, they walked away with their heads held high. Coach Robinson was proud of the effort they gave against the highly ranked Golden Bears.
“The one disappointment about today was the result. In terms of how we carried ourselves, in terms of the opportunities we created … I think UC Davis had a great day today,” Robinson said.
UC Davis bounced back from the loss against Cal to earn a 3-0 victory over Northern Arizona University. The Aggie offense proved to be a multifaceted threat against the Lumberjacks with all three goals coming from different players. Argente and Edwards picked up another goal apiece while sophomore Taylor Duffner earned her first score of the season. UC Davis’ defense impressed as well, holding Northern Arizona to seven attempts during the match while Jern picked up another two saves.
UC Davis was bested by Saint Mary’s and Cal State Bakersfield, both by scores of 0-1.
Saint Mary’s Gaels were able to pull off a late-score victory to drop the Aggies to 4-2-1 on the season. Although the team was upset by the score, Coach Robinson was encouraged by the continued intensity from the defense and the midfield. Jern continued to impress, tallying another six saves on the day.
The match against the Cal State Bakersfield ‘Runners was a similar situation. The ‘Runners were able to sneak one in late past Jern while the Aggie offense struggled to score, despite taking nine attempts at the goal. However, UC Davis stayed in the match and Robinson was proud that her squad continued to fight through their frustrations.
Recently the Aggies traveled to Riverside, Calif. where UC Davis managed to earn a decisive 4-0 victory over Lamar. The Aggies took 31 shots during the match, while the defense limited Big Red to 13. Lamar had five on-goal opportunities but Jern managed to save all five.
The Aggies are headed into conference play with plenty of momentum and determination. Coach Robinson has praised players on all sides of the field. If the Aggies continue to develop with every game, UC Davis fans can expect another spectacular season of soccer.
KIM CARR can be reached at email@example.com.