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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Field hockey continues upward trajectory despite tough loss


UC Davis falls to 6-8 with agonizing loss at home

The UC Davis field hockey team dropped its second consecutive America East Conference game on Friday afternoon, losing to the visiting University of Pacific Tigers in a game that went to double overtime before being decided by a penalty shootout.

The teams were tied 1-1 for the majority of the second half and remain deadlocked through a pair of 10-minute overtime periods. In the middle of the shootout, both sides scored with two straight goals to keep things tied. After each team had five attempts and the score was still knotted, the shootout moved to a sudden-death scenario. UC Davis had the first chance to win the game, but a shot by redshirt senior Kelley Kramer barely sailed past the bottom-left goal post and went out of bounds. Pacific found the net on the very next play for the game-winning goal.

“The game could have gone either way — both teams were playing at the tops of their games,” said UC Davis Head Coach Britt Broady. “This is the way we aim to compete in every game, the results will come. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t earn the ‘W’ after such a great team performance.”

The Aggies have made positive strides so far this season with a young, 24-player roster that is comprised of 17 underclassmen and nine freshmen. Broady, in her second year at the helm, has continued to foster an inclusive and upbeat environment around the program, which has helped younger players quickly adapt to the standard of competition found at the Division I level.

“We work on our team culture and team chemistry so that a team member’s class does not determine their value or role on the team,” Broady said. “With such a large number of newcomers it was vital to our success to have them trust that concept so they could play and feel comfortable taking risks. I think the upperclassmen were able to welcome our newest members and get them on board quickly… so that no one on our team plays like a ‘first year.’ We play like a team of experienced veterans.”

No matter how the rest of the schedule plays out, this season has surely been an improvement from last fall when the Aggies suffered through a 1-17 campaign.

“I am very pleased and proud of the progress this team has made in just over a year,” Broady said. “Last year we fought with everything we had — the heart and work ethic this team showed was remarkable.”

Broady credits her team’s hard work during the off-season as a big reason for its success and continued improvement thus far.

“After a winter and spring of technical and tactical focus, we are able to compete at a high level with any opponent,” Broady said. “We’ve continued our progression through this fall and have an incredibly strong defensive unit matched with sustained attack and the ability to score. We are confident when we step on the field that we have a game plan which will allow us to win if we’re able to execute.”

On Friday afternoon, the Aggies started out well and got on the board just over 10 minutes into the first half. Freshman forward Siena Dwyer possessed the ball down the sideline and into the right corner, before quickly firing a pass to freshman midfielder Eline van den Bosch in front of the goal. Van den Bosch swiftly guided the ball into the bottom-left corner of the net to put UC Davis ahead 1-0.

Van den Bosch has taken the league by storm in her short time with the Aggies so far, setting program records and leading the team with 19 points and eight goals. In a game at Ball State on Sept. 24, she became the first Aggie to record seven points in a single game. Her hat trick in that contest was also the first three-goal performance in program history in the past seven seasons.

The game went scoreless for the remaining 25 minutes of the first half, despite an onslaught of shot attempts by Pacific. Nonetheless, the UC Davis defense held its ground and came up with several blocked shots. In addition, junior goalkeeper Chelsea Bigelow had three saves between the pipes.

“We dominated the first half by sticking to our game plan which included transferring through the midfield and neutralizing [the Tigers’] greatest scoring threat — their incredibly skilled drag-flicker on attack corners,” Broady said.

Pacific finally broke through in the 42nd minute on a penalty corner play. The Aggies deflected a shot in front of the goal, but a Pacific forward quickly scooped up the rebound and put it into the back of the goal for the equalizer.

“Pacific is a fast and highly skilled team, so we knew a 1-0 halftime lead would not be the final score,” Broady said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to capitalize on our second half scoring opportunities.”

Pacific once again dominated possession for the remainder of the second half, but UC Davis didn’t give in defensively. Both teams had their opportunities in the two overtime periods, but nothing materialized.

The Aggies now sit at the bottom of the America East Conference division standings, having dropped both of their league contests so far. The team lost 5-0 at Stanford last Sunday to open up the league schedule.

UC Davis originally started the season on a 6-6 run in non-conference play, which included a long East Coast road trip with contests at Virginia, Vermont, Ohio, and Indiana. The team will finish out its regular season with back-to-back games against UC Berkeley, as well as meetings with Pacific and Stanford again.


Written by: Brendan Ogburn — sports@theaggie.org



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