UC Davis women’s soccer victorious in final non-conference game of the season
It was a day to remember for UC Davis women’s soccer last Saturday after a heart-stopping, last second goal propelled the team to a hard-fought win in double overtime against Saint Mary’s.
A hot summer day welcomed the Aggies, holding on to a 6-3-1 record as they prepared to face the 5-3-2 Gaels. It has been an intense season so far for UC Davis, as a winning streak helped the team jump the pack early on.
The recent overtime loss against No. 6 Stanford was a blow to the team, but, despite the setback, the Aggies came together and took a strong win against San Diego State. With fresh minds and determined spirits, the Aggies were eager to face Saint Mary’s on Sept. 26—little did they know that it would be a record-setting day.
As the battle against Saint Mary’s commenced, it was clear that weather would be a factor as the hot sun beat down on the Aggie Soccer Field.
The ending of the first half found UC Davis playing excellent defense, though their finishing ability on offense was lacking. Saint Mary’s held on with pressured defense and was not able to find many shots on the well-protected Aggie goal. Any shot that was on goal was eaten up or blocked by freshman goalkeeper Alexis Smith. Her performance gave the Aggie offense much needed relief and made room for many more opportunities.
It was a back-and-forth affair for almost all of regulation and overtime periods. Both teams had many opportunities and each recorded 12 total shots. Despite this, the Aggies had more of an offensive presence, as six of their shots were on target and only four of Saint Mary’s posed much of a threat.
The first overtime period yielded no goals as well. Both teams were tired and the heat was not helping. Action was hard to come by other than a few rough attempts and pot-shots.
The second overtime period was more exciting. As exhaustion took hold of the players, mistakes were made on both sides. Luckily enough for UC Davis, it was Saint Mary’s that made the biggest mistake of all: a foul in the box. As freshman forward Crystal Crump handled the ball on the right side of the field, she made an expert cut and found herself rushing into the box. With many opportunities available, a Saint Mary’s defender had no choice but to make a desperate defensive stop by fouling Crump. UC Davis was awarded a penalty kick with less than a minute left in the second overtime period.
The ultimate responsibility was given to senior midfielder Ana Marija Sola to take the penalty shot. Tricking the goalkeeper, Sola slid the ball into the left side and the UC Davis stands erupted in a cacophony of cheers and applause.
This clutch win set the Division I record for the most non-conference wins in a single season. It was definitely a day to remember and a day for celebration. The celebrations will have to be short-lived, as it is back to business for the Aggies as they prepare for an important conference matchup at home on Oct. 1 against Cal Poly.