StatBroadcast (Friday) | StatBroadcast (Sunday) | Facebook Live | Live Audio (Friday) | Live Audio (Sunday) | UC Davis Give Day
DAVIS, Calif. - With another week of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women's lacrosse play in the books, four of the six slots in the conference tournament are clinched, with the two remaining up for grabs among five teams. Tee Ladouceur's UC Davis squad remains in that mix, despite tough losses to Cal and Oregon during the previous weekend.
The Aggies wrap up the regular season with home games against San Diego State (Friday) and No. 8 USC (Sunday), the latter of which will provide a Senior Day send-off for four seniors: attacker Melissa Kellan, defender Tess Kevorkian, defender Pauline Kaplan and goalkeeper Lauren Ali.
A quick glance at the MPSF standings and schedule reveals the importance of these two games. San Diego State, UC Davis and Cal are tied for fifth in the conference with 2-4 records. Fresno State has a 2-5 league mark. Furthermore, the Bulldogs and Golden Bears square off in Fresno one hour before the Aggies and Aztecs begin in Davis. UC Davis and Cal will both close out against Top 10 teams (No. 8 USC and No. 9 Colorado, respectively), while San Diego State travels to nine-time MPSF champion Stanford.
Thus, if Ladouceur has her way, the final two games will not serve as a farewell for that senior class, but a firestarter. After all, at least one more notch under the win column is required if the Aggie season is to continue into the postseason.
"I'm ready to see our seniors fight and leave it all out on the field. I don't think it has hit them yet," said Ladouceur, who found her team in this exact scenario a year ago. The Aggies needed at least one win against San Diego State or USC in the final regular-season weekend, and grabbed it in a 7-6 overtime thriller at Aztec Lacrosse Field. "Last year, we got there because we earned it. We fought really, really hard. It was a battle to the end."
Not only did that 7-6 win clinch an MPSF tournament spot for UC Davis, but it mathematically eliminated SDSU from the similar running. Ladouceur fully anticipates the Aztecs to bring their `A' game, if for no other reason than to avenge that setback. "They probably have had our name on their locker room since last year. So I'm expecting one heck of a game," she said.
While the weekend's spotlight washes upon the senior class, the recent stretch of conference games saw key contributions from many of the younger Aggies. Freshman Maddie Myers scored two goals at Cal on Friday and earned her first collegiate start two days later against Oregon. Another rookie, Amanda Outcalt, totaled four points in each contest last weekend. She now ranks second on the team in total points with 39 (23 goals, 16 assists). Meanwhile, junior Kelsey DeJesus (6 goals, 2 assists) and sophomore Shannon Cross (5 goals) have churned out offense in the last three conference games, upping their season scoring totals to 21 and 26, respectively.
Sunday brings the fourth nationally ranked opponent of the year in USC, yet Ladouceur remains unfazed. "They're in the top 10. There's not much else you can say about that, but anything can happen at this point in the season, especially when seniors' careers are on the line," she said, as if invoking the Aggies' biggest upset in history, the 15-14 upset of then-No. 14 Stanford to end the 2013 season.
In fact, Ladouceur needs to look no further than her recent opponent as an example of a team fueled by the urgency of a conference race. Oregon overcame a 9-5 halftime deficit by scoring five unanswered to beat UC Davis on Sunday. "You could tell that they were excited with every goal they scored. They were fighting for their lives, and that was something that was really missing on our side.
"We need to make sure that we don't settle, no matter who we're playing or what the score is. We should expect our best with every single play."
Live stats for each game are available via StatBroadcast while video is available as a Facebook Live event at the team's Facebook page. Live audio can also be found via Stretch Internet.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: SAN DIEGO STATE (8-6, 2-4) has lost three straight conference games, including a 17-12 upset at Fresno State back on April 3... This followed seven-week stretch in which the Aztecs won 9 of 10, including overtime victories against New Hampshire (Mar. 15) and Cal (Mar. 26)... Senior midfielder Kristen Hickey leads SDSU with 26 goals while fellow fourth-years Kayla Deitz and Alex Watson are close behind with 24 and 23... USC (12-3, 6-0) was the first to clinch an MPSF playoff berth, immediately after piling up 42 combined goals against Fresno State and Cal... The Trojans, who face Stanford on Friday before heading northeast to Davis, boast the conference leader in goals (Michaela Michael, 54), ground balls (Gussie Johns, 60), draw controls (Michael, 97) and goals-against average (Johns, 6.69)... USC leads the country in scoring defense and scoring margin (8.6 per game). #UCDAVISGIVEDAY: UC Davis will launch its campus-wide Give Day on Friday, April 21 at noon and continue through 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22... All alumni, fans and friends of UC Davis women's lacrosse are encouraged to participate... Visit giveday.ucdavis.edu/giving-day/1231/department/2330 to support women's lacrosse specifically and/or to learn more information about this unique, 29-hour campaign.