DAVIS, Calif. - Before Friday's America East Conference match, UC Davis honored Eden Borsack, Lauren Copeland, Courtney Hessler, Kat Jackson, Beth Lee, Agustina Singh and Kayla Wigney -- seven student-athletes who competed in their final game at Aggie Field Hockey Facility during the program's Senior Day ceremony. Once action began, Wigney scored both of the Aggies' goals early in the first half, Lee collected her third shutout victory of the season by stopping six shots and saw her back line stifle every Cal scoring opportunity from the opening whistle, to the final horn, to help UC Davis end the regular season with a 2-0 victory over its I-80 rivals.
UC Davis will head to next week's America East Conference Field Hockey Tournament with a 5-12 overall and 1-5 league record; Cal will enter its season finale at 4-11 and 1-4.
"It's not easy starting your senior year with a new coach and a new system, but they all bought in and worked hard from the first day of the system," said UC Davis head coach Chrissy Kilroe regarding her senior class. "I couldn't ask for a better group of seniors, and leaders here at UC Davis."
Friday's triumph marks the second time, in as many seasons, that UC Davis topped the Golden Bears in its season finale. These teams have now split their last four head-to-head matchups, with the home team emerging victorious on each occasion.
An early Cal turnover turned into the Aggies' first goal of the day when Jackson found Wigney across the turf just a few yards away from the cage. After receiving the pass, the senior forward circled around her defender and dove to the ground while slapping the ball towards the goal. Before she hit the turf, Wigney's reverse shot beat Bears goalkeeper Danielle Mentink to the right post and gave UC Davis a 1-0 lead 17 minutes into the game.
With Cal still mentally recovering from its early miscues, the Aggies quickly returned the action back to its scoring circle. After Singh took a shot on goal, Wigney tipped in her teammate's deflected shot to double her team's lead four minutes later.
"Kayla's goal was huge," said Lee after the match. "When we took that early lead, that gave this team an extra boost of confidence. After she scored her second goal, I felt that this team was relaxed and ready to do whatever it took to win."
Outside of a three-minute timespan late in the first half that saw the Bears record half of their eight corners and six shots, UC Davis' defense did not allow their opponents to generate another dangerous scoring opportunity for the rest of the day. And on those occasions when Cal was able to test Lee, she was able to turn away every attempt with ease.
"This team came in prepared, everyone was focused and ready to compete," said Wigney.
Simply stated, the Aggies just would not let their seniors end the regular season with anything other than a win.
"Everyone played with emotion today, but we also made intelligent decisions," added Wigney. "It was that successful combination, in addition to all of the hard work that took place throughout practice this week that led to this result."
UC Davis will find out who its next opponent is when the America East Conference reveals its matchups for the upcoming postseason tournament on Sunday. Quarterfinal action will begin at Pacific on Thursday, Nov. 3.