UC Davis struck first and last in the slugfest against Big West Conference rival Pacific on Friday night. The Aggies traveled to Stockton to face off against the Tigers under the bright lights on Knowles Field and the squad made sure the bus ride home had a victorious mood to it.
Head coach MaryClaire Robinson was thrilled with the energy and the competitive ferocity her team maintained through the game.
“It was a fantastic team effort. We had a great energy and it was a beautiful night to play,” she said.
It all started when freshman Sienna Drizin scored off a pass from junior Bridget Berman in the 20th minute, putting the Aggies up 1-0. The goal was Drizin’s third of the season and it evidenced the strong talent of this young team.
Pacific did not take long to bounce back and managed to even the score just 10 minutes later. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Jern made an impressive penalty kick save but sophomore Tiger Mirella Mattos bested her on the right side shortly after.
Not to be outdone, the Aggie offense answered just 30 seconds later when sophomore Kiele Argente earned a penalty kick of her own. Her initial attempt was blocked but she managed to boot the rebound to the back of the net to put the Aggies ahead 2-1.
UC Davis held the lead for most of the second half but Pacific managed to break through the Aggie defense in the 83rd minute to tie the score. Jern was unable to block a header shot and the game was tied up at 2-2.
Drizin came back for seconds in the 86th minute but her shot was blocked. However, she was able to make the game winner just two minutes later. UC Davis held the 3-2 lead for the final two minutes of the match.
Robinson had nothing but praise for Drizin’s work ethic.
“Sienna played through and she beat the keeper to tuck the ball away in the far corner. It was a clutch finish,” Robinson said.
UC Davis is also pushing intensity as a key component to winning games. Robinson often speaks about pairing physical fitness with mental toughness to win games.
“We [UC Davis] showed such confidence in getting after the net after they [Pacific] tied it,” Robinson said.
The win set the Aggies’ overall record at 7-5-1 and a conference record of 2-1, earning them the third-place ranking behind Cal Poly and Long Beach State in the Big West.
UC Davis continues to play with a diverse offense, as they had five different players with at least one attempt on goal. This young squad continues to spread the ball around game after game, allowing every player on the field to become a serious offensive threat.
The defense played strong as well, but they allowed Pacific to take more shot attempts than the Aggies managed. Jern managed to add another four saves to her list but as they start to face more serious competitors, UC Davis needs to keep the ball in play on the offensive side of the field.
The team is thrilled to be coming home to the familiar grass of Aggie Soccer Field after a full month of away games. They are looking to face second-ranked Long Beach State in a game that could potentially boost the Aggies into the first spot in the division.
UC Davis hopes to have some serious support during their coming game, which starts at 3 p.m. this Saturday at Aggie Soccer Field.
KIM CARR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.