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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Aggies turn in a dominating performance en route to victory over UC San Diego

UC Davis reaches 10 wins for the first time since 2015


By MARLON ROLON — sports@theaggie.org


For the three seniors on the UC Davis women’s soccer team roster, goalkeeper Nicki Rucki, midfielder Emma Hasco and defender Janessa Staab, this game would be their last to don the Aggies blue and gold uniforms. The home team proved to be too much as UC San Diego succumbed to the pressure, falling 3-1 to close out the season.

“Our seniors are everything, they’re always at the core of every great successful team,” head coach Tracy Hamm said after the game. “They’re just great people also and they’re all charismatic in their own way and they each bring something unique to the team in their own way and to the team so we were really lucky to have such a great group of seniors that got us a 10 win season and finished the season out on top with a win.”

The Aggies dominated early with a brilliant cross into the box from Emma Vane to Hasco in which she then found the back of the net to take the 1-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of regulation. It was Hasco’s third goal of the season as the senior turned in an excellent performance in her last outing on the pitch as an Aggie.

UC San Diego would answer back with a superb finish by Sophia Bruno in the 29th minute to equalize the score making it 1-1 before closing out the half.

In the second half of the match, UC Davis came out blazing, seeking to make a statement with Vane again making her presence felt, assisting the team’s leading scorer Leslie Ferguso with a cross. The talented and elusive Ferguso did not forgive on the pitch as she headed the ball toward the right post scoring the second goal of the match for the Aggies, making it 2-1.

In the 69th minute, Ferguso returned the favor with an assist to Vane who finished with brilliance to put the game out of reach making it 3-1.

The Aggies finished their season with a record of 10-8 and going 5-5 in conference play. UC Davis finished the game with 27 shots while their defense allowed eight shots. Ferguso finished the season with an impressive seven tallies, making her the leading scorer of the team. UC Davis looks to build on their 10 wins next season with a new generation of players looking to cement their legacy within the program.

“I think as a coach that’s what you look forward to the most, the key relationships on the field between players and who helps each other be successful and who highlights each other’s strengths,” Coach Hamm said. “We’ve definitely found some pretty dynamic duos and some dynamic trios on the field at the same time that are really going to be hard to stop moving forward.”


A reflection of the 2021 season

Closing out the season with 10 wins is considered a success for the program when looking back at their last couple of years. This season is something they can build on heading into next season with their younger players eager to get more playing time. Even after being removed from the game for an entire year due to unforeseen circumstances, the growth of the team was astonishing to watch.

Coach Hamm spoke briefly about what this season meant after the cancellation of the 2020 season.

“I think there was just always a great energy about being on the field and really appreciating what we have and being grateful for the opportunity to even compete, and I think we had a lot of time to really invest in each other as people which I think translated to our ability to compete on the field together and have a successful year,” coach Hamm said.

The team kicked off the season with a record of two wins and three losses raising questions about the direction of the team. However, according to coach Hamm, she never stopped believing in her squad which resulted in the team playing hard for their beloved coach. The following game, the Aggies flourished with a four goal performance against Idaho State routing them 4-0.

UC Davis built on that moral victory, beating the likes of their rival school Sacramento State, Saint Mary’s, CSU Bakersfield and CSU Northridge, claiming five wins in a row.

For the rest of the way, UC Davis’ women’s team alternated loses and wins resulting in their 10-8 overall record.

The team had three seniors that were fundamental pieces to the team’s success. Those three players: goalkeeper Rucki, midfielder Hasco and defender Staab were seen as the embodiment of what it means to be an Aggie. They showed heart, determination, leadership and resilience.

“We have a lot to look forward to,” coach Hamm said. “The seniors definitely left the program better than they found it, which is fantastic. There’s a lot of room for growth and development but we’ve really got a young team, and we’ve got a lot of experience now moving forward learning how to win and learning how to be consistent, so I think the future is very bright.”

The program in Davis has a lot to look forward to being rich in talent with the likes of midfielders Ferguso, Risa Yamada leading the way while proving to be an elite combination scoring a combined 13 goals. The duo also proved to be capable of facilitating the ball with a combined 12 assists between the pair.

Another rising star within the program is San Jose native Vane, occupying the striker position. The freshman found the back of the net four times while assisting teammates on three occasions. Vane’s partner up front also includes freshman out of Chino Hills, Calif., Sammie Ruelas, who proved to be a great asset to the team, scoring three goals and adding three assists. The future in the striker position looks very bright with two young prospects gaining valuable experience during their freshmen seasons.

UC Davis is loaded with young talent in a program that seems to be flourishing. Be on the look out for this new generation of players looking to make a splash next season after earning 10-wins, a feat that hadn’t happened since 2015.


Written by: Marlon Rolon — sports@theaggie.org


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