DAVIS, Calif. - Before Sunday's NorPac match, all attention was squarely focused on Emily Costa, Sophia Lisaius, Mattie Maloney and Stephie Sabraw - UC Davis' seniors who made their final appearance at Aggie Field Hockey Facility. Once action began, Sabraw and Costa received ovations once again after scoring 21 seconds apart in the 24th minute to help the Aggies defeat Pacific, 2-1.
UC Davis improves to 4-9 and Pacific drops to 4-8 this season with Sunday's result.
"I think this team played with a lot of pride and really wanted the seniors to win their final match at this new facility. It was great to see the seniors score, especially one after the other," said UC Davis head coach Tiffany Huisman following the match.
Sabraw scored her second goal in as many matches for UC Davis when she beat Laura Pujade from the left-hand side of the scoring arc to help the Aggies jump out to an early 1-0 lead.
In Friday's matchup against Cal, Sabraw was responsible for UC Davis' lone goal. The forward from Rancho Santa Fe, California, now has four goals to her credit this year - one shy of matching the combined total from her first three seasons at Davis.
Before Aggie field hockey fans (including all four seniors' family members) even had a chance to take their seats following Sabraw's goal, Costa gave them all another reason to cheer when she scored her first-ever collegiate goal to double the Aggies' lead.
After causing a turnover just inside the 25-yard stripe, Costa maneuvered her way towards the end line before striking the ball towards Pacific's cage. On a tough angle, one of Costa's game-high three shots snuck past Pujade in what little room was available.
"I was pretty emotional before the game. Once I reached the field, I just wanted to enjoy this experience. Once everything started, I just wanted to play my best and do whatever I could to help my team win," said Costa.
"It was surreal when I scored; at first I did not realize what had happened. Everything sunk in once my teammates surrounded me and started cheering," added the Aggie defender.
Costa and Garcia each led UC Davis with three shots apiece. Of its 11 shots, six were on goal.
Even though Pacific scored with just over three minutes remaining until halftime, UC Davis' defense prevented Pacific from generating another dangerous scoring opportunity throughout the rest of the match.
A stellar defensive effort by the Aggies included a near seven-minute block of time in the second half when Pacific pulled its goalkeeper in favor of adding an extra attacker. That decision had little, if any influence throughout the final minutes of the match as UC Davis was able to keep the ball in front of Pacific's cage, overwhelm its opponents throughout the middle third of the field, prevent the Tigers from organizing or generating any momentum on those rare opportunities when the Aggies' backline was forced to make a play.
"The team's defense was something we focused on this week (at practice). Everyone played really well and, because of their hard work, we picked up a win," added Huisman.
"Our defense had a phenomenal game. We made some great feeds to our forwards all day long and stepped up in the second half," said Costa regarding the play of her backline teammates.
UC Davis freshman goalkeeper Briana Sooy recorded three saves en route to her first victory as an Aggie.
Due to a scheduling quirk, UC Davis will face the Tigers once again in Saturday's rematch; that NorPac match, in Stockton, will start at 3:30 p.m.