Having lost a combined five straight games against St. Mary’s and Long Beach State, UC Davis badly wanted to capture two wins this weekend.
Looking to gain momentum going into Big West Conference play, the Aggies first faced off against the Gaels.
The Aggies were unable to do so falling to both the Gaels and 49ers this weekend by scores of 2-1 in each match.
Friday – St. Mary’s 2, UC Davis 1
In the Aggies‘ final non-conference game of the season, they jumped on the board first when senior forward Rochelle VanBuskirk scored from five yards out on an assist from Alexis Knudtson.
Despite coming out with the first score and entering halftime with the lead, coach Mary Claire Robinson saw a lack of energy early on.
“We have got to sharpen up, play a little bit quicker and play with a little more spunk early on,” Robinson said. “We came out a little flat.“
This caught up to the Aggies in the second half as St. Mary’s struck back with a goal of its own.
Forward Jessica Menzhuber scored her seventh goal of the year in the 78th minute to tie the game at 1-1.
The score remained tied after 90 minutes of play and a 10-minute overtime period.
In the second extra session, Menzhuber put the game away for the Gaels as she dribbled to the right and shot straight to the left corner of the net from 15 yards out to account for the 2-1 final score.
“We’ve never beaten [St. Mary's],” VanBuskirk said. “We’ve always dominated the game but never have come out on top.“
Aisha Lott turned in a solid defensive performance and goalkeeper Sarah Peters had a few nice plays between the pipes to keep the ball out of the net.
Sunday – Long Beach State 2, UC Davis 1
The team’s misfortune continued into Big West play as UC Davis traveled to Long Beach State.
In a game in which all the scoring occurred in the first half of play, the Aggies lost to the 49ers by a score of 2-1.
UC Davis fell victim to two early Long Beach State goals; in both the 12th and 36th minute, Shawna Gordon scored on a throw in from teammate Chantel Hubbard.
The Aggies responded less than five minutes later as VanBuskirk netted her second goal of the weekend on a lead pass from midfielder Elise Winbrock.
“It was more a matter of us settling down and playing to our strengths,” said Robinson.
Down one score late in the game, UC Davis had two more good opportunities to tie the game up.
A shot by Winbrock in the 87th minute was saved by 49er keeper Emily Kingsborough and two minutes later, a UC Davis corner kick was nearly converted as Long Beach State escaped with the victory.
Despite allowing two goals, UC Davis goalkeeper Sarah Peters was a top performer in the match as she posted a season-high seven saves.
The game did get a little heated toward the end, as Nicole Sweetman of Long Beach State was ejected in the 76th minute for throwing an elbow.
“There’s a level of intensity that’s just different,” said Robinson of Big West games.
The Aggies continue conference play with a home game Friday against UC Irvine.
GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.