Aggies lose second straight title game, but future remains bright
For the second consecutive season, the UC Davis women’s lacrosse team fell to San Diego State in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship game, this time losing by a final score of 15-7 on Sunday afternoon at Aggie Stadium.
The Aggies actually fired seven more shots than their opponents and created more than enough opportunities on the attacking end, but simply could not finish off these chances the way they wanted to.
“I think our effort was there, but our execution was not,” said UC Davis Head Coach Suzanne Isidor. “We played great defense, but then everytime we got the ball we didn’t handle the pressure well and had turnovers. When you out-shoot a team by [seven] and lose by eight, that says a lot about where the game was.”
The Aggies started out hot in the opening minutes of action but soon fell behind and found themselves playing catch-up for the rest of the afternoon. Following a 3-3 start to the game, San Diego State promptly pulled ahead with three goals before halftime and added another just after the intermission to take a 7-3 lead.
The pace of play started to ramp up as UC Davis, led by sophomore midfielder Mar Alvear, stormed back with a trio of goals to suddenly cut the deficit to 8-6. Alvear scored twice and assisted on another goal by junior attacker Sorana Larson, with the Aggies making long attacking runs from one end of the field to the other.
Immediately following Alvear’s score that made it at two-goal contest, junior midfielder Maddie Myers controlled the draw and made a beeline toward the San Diego State net, but her shot was denied by an excellent save from the Aztec goalkeeper. This moment marked a shift in momentum and allowed the visitors to regain their composure before scoring five unanswered goals in the ensuing eight minutes of action to put the game out of reach.
Sunday’s result was a far cry from last year’s 11-10 overtime thriller, which the Aztecs claimed on their home turf, but Isidor felt that the team might be more equipped to handle the big stage after going through a learning experience last April.
Isidor has now led UC Davis to back-to-back appearances in the MPSF title game in her first two years on campus. With a final record of 9-8 in 2019, she’s also led the Aggies to a winning record for the second straight season. This is a feat that the program hadn’t previously accomplished since the 2011 season. To add to the list of back-to-back accomplishments, last week Isidor was once again named MPSF Coach of the Year, an award that is only a small testament to the dramatic positive impact she’s had on this program in such a short period of time — even suffering a pair of heartbreaking championship losses won’t do much to change that.
“It’s one game and it doesn’t define our season, as much as it hurts,” Isidor said. “It doesn’t take away from anything we did this season and how well the seniors have led.”
One of those seniors, attacker Taylor Cuenin, finished her career with 151 goals, which is tied for the second-most in school history. Cuenin, who was honored last week as the MPSF Player of the Year for the second season in a row, will leave campus this Spring as one of the greatest players in UC Davis women’s lacrosse history. Her efforts, along with the four other seniors on the roster, have helped catapult the program to a completely different level than where it was at when they enrolled as freshman four years ago. At that time, UC Davis was coming off one of its worst seasons in team history, in which the team managed to win just four games.
“They’re leaving this program better than they found it and that’s what you want,” Isidor said. “As much as this one stings, we’re going to be okay and be back here next year stronger.”
Written by: Brendan Ogburn — email@example.com