Aug. 24, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - -
Armed with experience and a solid group of newcomers, the UC Davis field hockey team will open the 2012 season with home games on Saturday against Saint Louis and on Monday against La Salle, both at Aggie Stadium.
Saturday's game will start at 7 p.m.while Monday's afternoon matchup begins at 2. UC Davis, which finished 5-12 last year, has scrimmaged against Cal and Pacific - both NorPac Conference rivals - during the preseason in preparation for a season that starts with three consecutive home games.
The Aggies opened the 2011 season with a win and ended the year with two wins over the final three games. In between, they played a rigorous schedule that was tough enough to earn them votes in the NFHCA national rankings.
This year's schedule is more ambitious with games against five ranked opponents including a road matchup at two-time defending and preseason No. 1 Maryland (Oct. 14). The Aggies will also play neutral-site games against No. 20 Northwestern (Sept. 3 at Berkeley), No. 24 Drexel (Sept. 5 at Berkeley) and No. 12 Iowa (Sept. 10 at Stanford).
The NorPac schedule doesn't bring and respite to the Aggies who will play home-and-home games against No. 11 Stanford and No. 16 Cal.
UC Davis will face that schedule with a roster that returns six of its top seven scorers including Emily Mecke and Cloey LemMon who each finished with seven goals and 15 points. Defender Casey Wollbrinck (7 pts), an All-NorPac selection, and Nadia Namdari (7 pts), also return.
Conley Craven, who twice earned NorPac West Division Defensive Player of the Week honors, is also back for fourth-year head coach Vianney Campos.
The year will start with La Salle which lost 5-3 at Pacific on Friday. Lisa Smith, Caiti Brownwell and Tori Lycett each tallied goals for the Billikens. Saint Louis finished 3-16 last season.
UC Davis and Ls Salle are meeting for the second straight year after playing a close 1-0 game last season in Philadelphia. The Explorers posted an 8-11 record in 2011 and welcome back their top four scorers who each scored at least 11 points. Mariel Papa led the way with 14 points.
La Salle plays at Stanford on Friday and Pacifc on Sunday before visiting the Aggies.
The Aggies will finish their three-game homestand to open the year when they host Bryant University on Sept. 1 at noon.