Look quick: Aggie women’s soccer team will be gone in a flash

By From page B1 | August 25, 2013

UCD freshman Andrea Damian collides with Sacramento State goalie Kimberly Mata during the Aggies' 1-0 win over the Hornets on Friday at Aggie  Soccer Field. It was the season opener for both teams. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

UCD freshman Andrea Damian collides with Sacramento State goalie Kimberly Mata during the Aggies' 1-0 win over the Hornets on Friday at Aggie Soccer Field. It was the season opener for both teams. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

Circle the date: Sunday, Sept. 1.

It’s the last chance Aggie soccer fans will get to watch an electric UC Davis women’s team at home until Oct. 17.

And after Friday’s 1-0 victory over visiting Sacramento State, the locals have hinted that there could be something special in store this fall.

In giving UCD a leg up in the Causeway Cup all-sports series with the Hornets, the Aggies used a Haley Hughes goal in the 32nd minute to get the decision.

But the slick score — off a laser-like cross from Mary Beth Mazurek — was just a chapter in the book that was this inspired win.

UCD was just off a 1-0 exhibition win over Oregon last week. Goal-scorer Sienna Drizin (and several other Aggies) were banged up and wouldn’t serve on this day.

Sacramento State came to town trying to remove a monkey from its back (which remains, as Friday’s result means the Hornets haven’t beaten UCD in seven years).

And if drama is your deal, know that the Aggies played down a woman the entire second half, thanks to a collision between UCD freshman Andrea Damian of St. Francis High and Sacramento goalie Kimberly Mata, resulting in a Damian red card.

“Haley scored a great goal,” UCD head coach Maryclaire Robinson said afterward. “We had a couple good chances and I thought Haley absolutely buried that … it was fantastic.

“But what impressed me the most (was) our ability to win (one-on-one) battles in every layer. I thought our backs did a fantastic job controlling the tempo. The midfield worked really hard. In possession, we absolutely owned the possession. And our forwards ran for us, particularly in the second half when we were down by a player.

“(I gave) a huge shout-out to the team as a whole. Top to bottom, we had really good work.”

Especially in the second half …

After the disqualification opened the door for the Hornets (5-9-4 in 2012), it immediately appeared as if it was the visitors who were playing a person down.

An early set piece from UCD’s Emma Tinloy got to Jill Bilodeaux, who just missed a header. Bilodeaux and Lexi Popoff both forced back Sacramento clears and at the 49-minute mark, Hannah Hicks and Popoff combined to earn the Aggies a corner kick.

Hicks and Hughes teamed to create another corner chance and, as the second half shaped up, it was clear that UCD wasn’t in defensive mode.

Except for a Hornet flurry in the 75th minute, which featured two scary moments for the Aggies …

Sacramento State defender Kassi Anast led a charge that saw her chip over UCD defenders, forcing Aggie keeper Taylor Jern to back-pedal, leap and watch as the ball glided over the crossbar.

The Hornets (0-1) threatened immediately after the corner kick. This time, Jern had to two-hand punch a Josie Jogwe blast, then sock the floating rebound clear of building traffic.

After that, UCD was back to its selfish self.

“It took a lot of communication and every player working as hard as they could, putting pressure on them and not letting them get out,” Hicks told The Enterprise. “It was good team effort.”

Hicks agreed that it seemed like the Aggies were the team with the advantage, despite playing the second half with fewer players on the field:

“We didn’t want to cheat back and not attack at all,” she said. “We did a good job keeping the pressure on and not letting them just attack on us.”

Hicks said, despite being down a woman, “there was no panic.”

UCD (1-0) earned the first five points in the school-year-long Causeway Cup competition.

Next up for the Aggies is a Friday (4 p.m.) meeting with Iowa at Pacific. Then it’s home to meet Drake. Iowa beat Drake, 1-0, Friday in the opener for both schools.

After that, it’s bon voyage as UCD plays its next nine games elsewhere, including potentially reputation-building matches at Cal (Sept. 8), Texas Tech (Sept. 20), New Mexico (Sept. 22) and the Big West Conference kickoff at Long Beach State (Oct. 10).

Notes: Popoff, a junior from Tracy, had four shots for the Aggies as UCD outshot its guests, 12-5. … For sophomore Hughes (another product of St. Francis of Sacramento), it was her second career tally. The unannounced crowd was estimated at 450.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

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