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Sunday, April 14, 2024

UC Davis Women’s Lacrosse team cruises past Oregon on senior day

The Aggies display their offensive firepower as a couple of stars notch career-highs

By OMAR NAVARRO — sports@theaggie.org


Coming into the game having lost three of their last four games, the UC Davis Women’s Lacrosse team was able to cruise to a 17-12 victory over the Oregon Ducks on senior day. With great team play and execution, the Aggies took control of a game that started off tightly contested.

“I think it was a great win for us,” head coach Suzanne Isidor said after the game. “We put into play a lot of things that we’d been working on. We had two weeks from our spring break game, and it was nice to regroup, focus on us and focus on Oregon.”

Entering Saturday afternoon’s matchup with a record of 4-5, UC Davis was looking for a win to get back on track. But, with the Ducks controlling the opening draw, they were able to open the scoring after an early free position attempt shot that got past junior goalkeeper Ashley Laing. The Aggies, focused on getting that back, took the draw the other way and put pressure on Oregon’s net for the first time. Despite missing a free position attempt wide, the Aggies kept possession and set up a play where first-year Ella Brislin was able to get her 15th goal of the season off an assist by junior midfielder Alex Agnew.

The goal gave UC Davis some confidence early and after a save by Laing, the Aggies went the other way. A setup play found a cutting Natalie Wilson across the middle, who calmly put it away to give the Aggies their first lead of the game, 2-1.

After a bit of a back and forth from both sides on offense, UC Davis earned another free position shot. This one was sent in however, as senior Kendall Seifert rifled it past the goalkeeper for the 3-1 lead. Coming off the goal, the Aggies again controlled the draw to earn another free position attempt — this time sent in by Brisling for her second of the afternoon — and took a 4-1 lead.

The Ducks, however, would not go down that easily. After a turnover by the Aggies, they put pressure on the goal and were able to cash in on another free position attempt. Despite being able to gain draw control, UC Davis went cold, being unable to convert on their shots. Oregon took advantage of this, as they were able to score another goal to make it a slim 4-3 UC Davis lead. Riding some momentum, Oregon once again controlled the draw, but a save by Laing stopped their run for a moment. The remaining three minutes saw both teams battling on the defensive end, trying to avoid conceding a goal. A late opportunity was deflected by the Aggie defense, bringing the first quarter to an end with the Aggies still leading 4-3.

“I think defensively we were doing well,” Isidor said about the brief Oregon comeback. “Their first two goals were off of eight meters, and we just needed to get more disciplined to not put them on the eight meter.”

The second quarter continued with the Ducks momentum, as they were able to capitalize on a turnover by UC Davis, tying the game up at four.

Despite allowing three unanswered goals, the Aggies didn’t fold. Rather, they came right back and controlled the ball to set up a perfect play that ended with a goal. In just over a minute, the Aggies regained the lead, 5-4.

From then on, the UC Davis defense locked in, contesting every shot and giving the Ducks almost no room to produce a comfortable shot or even pass. Another save by Laing was cleared, and a perfect lob over the top by Agnew for Seifert, who got it past the goalkeeper, made it 6-4 UC Davis. After the Ducks responded again with a nice spinning goal, Brislin came back and put a move on her defender, freeing herself enough to get a bouncer past the goalkeeper for another goal. The rest of the second quarter saw more of the same, as crisp passing in the offensive area led to more Aggie goals, and they went into the halftime break up 10-6.

After UC Davis started the third quarter with a turnover, the Ducks capitalized on the missed opportunities to open the second half scoring. But about 40 seconds later, a cutting Wilson — assisted by Agnew — found the back of the net on a powerful upper deck shot to push the lead to four again. The Aggies were cruising and a minute later, added another one for their largest lead of the game, 12-7. The rest of the third quarter was much of the same, as the UC Davis onslaught continued and they led by a whooping 15-7 entering the final quarter.

“Everybody started to step up,” Isidor said about their dominating run. “They started to face guard Alex [Agnew] and she did a good job occupying a defender. They were so worried about her that other people were able to step up.”

With control of the game, the Aggies came out a bit lackluster in the fourth quarter, leading to two Oregon goals in the first five minutes of the final quarter. Coach Isidor called a timeout to regroup, and it worked as the Aggies scored another coming off the discussion with their coach.

“We just wanted to regroup,” Isidor said about the timeout in the fourth. “We just needed a little ‘Okay, that’s enough.’”

Oregon fought until the very end, but it was too little too late, as UC Davis finished senior night with a 17-12 victory. Brislin finished with a career-high five goals including a perfect 3-3 from free position attempts. Goalkeeper Laing finished with eight saves including one from eight meters, and Agnew finished with a career-high six assists — every one of them crucial in the Aggies’ control of this game. Agnew now sits at eighth place on UC Davis all-time assist leaderboard. Regan Arkless and Kendall Seifer each finished with hat tricks to their name as well, as the Aggies finished with seven different goal scorers in this contest.

Before the game, seniors Ally Deremer, Natalie Wilson, Annie Dalton, Kendall Seifert and Brooke Long were honored as they celebrated senior day. They were able to celebrate the win, as their stamp on UC Davis and the team will not be forgotten.

“Every class is special and I think what this group has is their personal relationships with everybody are so strong,” Isidor said about the seniors. “We talked about it in the locker room, what they mean to everybody and everybody said how they felt that [the seniors] genuinely cared about every person and each of them have such big hearts. They’ve really shown up for us and grown into that leadership role.”

The Aggies only have three regular season games remaining on their schedule. On April 16 they will take on the Cal Golden Bears in their final home game at UC Davis Health Stadium. To finish off the year, they will travel to face a familiar foe in San Diego State on April 24 before their final game on April 30, where they will visit USC who is ranked No. 13 on the Inside Lacrosse Poll.

“Building on this one, we have a little momentum,” Isidor said of the last couple games. “Consistency has been our problem. We’ve been a little up but also down. So, I think maintaining that consistency in practice and we’ve got some good competition in our traditional  rivals here on the West Coast so we’re just looking to keep building on today.”


Written by: Omar Navarro — sports@theaggie.org




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