Teams: UC Davis at Long Beach State; UC Davis at UC Irvine
Records: Aggies, 3-5-2 (0-0-0) ; 49ers 7-5-0 (1-1-0) ; Anteaters 6-5-0 (1-1-0)
Where: George Allen Field – Long Beach, Calif.; Anteater Stadium – Irvine, Calif.
When: Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
Who To Watch:
Senior Ashley Edwards scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over the University of the Pacific in the Aggies’ last game on Sept. 27. She has two goals on the season now and will look to make an even bigger impact as the Aggies move into their conference schedule. Edwards started all 19 games last season and finished with a team-high 16 points which included seven goals and two assists. She was selected as one of three team captains on this year’s squad.
“Edwards possesses an excellent work rate,” said head coach Maryclaire Robinson of her star forward.
Junior goalkeeper Taylor Jern recorded a shutout in the win against Pacific for the third Aggie shutout of the year. Jern started all 19 games last year as well and finished with a 1.09 goal against average and 84 saves. She is on a hot streak right now, not having conceded a goal in two consecutive games. She seems primed to lead the Aggies into their conference matchups starting on Oct. 10.
Did You Know:
Head coach Maryclaire Robinson is only three wins shy of 200 for her remarkable career at UC Davis. If all goes well and the Aggies win their next two games at Long Beach State and at UC Irvine, then coach Robinson could possibly win her 200th win at home on Oct. 17 against Hawaii. Regardless of what game marks her career milestone this season though, Robinson is very much looking forward to winning her 200th game, but probably not for the reason you’d think.
“I’d like to reach that milestone this year, but because it means that the team is winning,” coach Robinson said.
The win will have to come in conference play which is always harder, as the intensity and desire to win spikes, but the victory will be that much more rewarding.
The Aggies head into this critical two game stretch in desperate need of a couple wins. Their non-conference schedule was difficult with some very good teams, but they just couldn’t get the victories.
There is reason to hope though. Besides the shutout win against Pacific, the Aggies played very well against top competition, going 1-1-1 against Pac-12 teams. Nevertheless, UC Davis is probably going to need to win the Big West in order to make the postseason this year. That journey starts with the games at Long Beach State and UC Irvine.
Long Beach State is 7-5-0 so far this year and one of the top teams of the Big West. They earned a spot in the NCAA tournament last year, so they have a postseason pedigree to give the Aggies trouble. UC Irvine is 6-5-0 this season but is only 1-3-0 at home, giving hope that the Aggies can continue that trend when they visit on Sunday.
The key for the Aggies is to make the most of their opportunities. Many times this season, the Ags have gotten into winning positions but have just failed to convert.
“We can compete with anybody,” coach Robinson said. “Every day is an opportunity to be our best.”
The Aggies will certainly get their chance to prove this against two good sides in Long Beach State and UC Irvine.
– Vic Anderson