April 22, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. -
After strong performances in each of its last two games, UC Davis women's lacrosse closes out its 2014 slate under the Friday night lights of Aggie Stadium. The Aggies will honor four graduating seniors - namely Jordan Majka, Allison Langius, Lauren Nardi and co-captain Carly Voris - before the finale game against Saint Mary's.
UC Davis (7-8, 2-6) claimed a 15-8 victory over Fresno State on Friday's contest, with junior Elizabeth Landry leading the offensive charge with five goals. Voris followed with four scores while junior Meghan Jordan tied her season best of five assists.
However, the more satisfying stats to second-year head coach Kate Henwood do not loom as conspicuously on the boxscore. The Aggies committed a season-low nine turnovers, one fewer than the 10 against Stanford earlier in the week. They cleared their transitions at a perfect 9-for-9 clip, and dominated the draws, controlling 18 of 25. Ball control took an even less obvious positive tone when examining the season-high 33 shots: of the 18 attempts that didn't find the back of the net, UC Davis immediately regained possession on 10. On three others, the Aggies forced turnovers before the Bulldogs could transition.
"We spent a lot of time addressing those things this year," said Henwood. "It was a challenge to address because of our limited number of players at practice. As a coaching staff, we found some creative ways of getting that message across and the players really did a great job responding.
"It would have been great for things to come together a few weeks earlier, but this is a process. The players have worked hard and dedicated themselves, and it's nice to see those tangible results."
Thus, in Friday's finale against Saint Mary's, Henwood hopes for more of the same: winning ground balls, maintaining possession on attack, and playing stingy defense when the Gaels enter their attacking third. Sophomore Mary Doyle is a big part of all three. She leads UC Davis in ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (23), and ranks second only to Landry in draw controls (38). Landry has been a consistent force on offense all season, pacing the Aggies with 41 goals. However, she has won 11 of her 15 ground balls in MPSF play.
Saint Mary's (2-11, 0-8) snapped a 10-game losing streak by picking up a pair of wins on a Southern road trip, piling up 43 combined goals in the victories over Presbyterian and Kennesaw State. Senior Rachel Minarovich totaled 15 goals with five ground balls and 15 draw controls in the three-game week to earn MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honors. She also broke her own school season record with 76 DCs while her career total of 225 established a conference record. Senior Allie DeBruhl, who matched Minarovich's total of five goals in Friday's win over KSU, leads Saint Mary's offensively with 28 goals.
According to Henwood, the Gaels will wear a collective target on their backs after their 16-15 overtime upset of UC Davis early last season. "I know the team is excited about this for a couple of reasons. It's Senior Day and it's the last game of the season, but we also have unfinished business after last year. I think that's the one thing that's motivating us this week," Henwood said.
More important than quite literally settling that score, the Aggies look to finish their season on a strong note. A 5-0 start gave way to a rough stretch in late March and early April.
"We had a couple of bumps this season and we had a really challenging schedule," Henwood said. "It wasn't ideal in terms of the order in which we played games, or the timing with finals. Injuries were a constant battle, and we had a couple of tough breaks. So I feel really good about the way we're finishing the year. We could have continued on a downward path. But this is a resilient group of fighters, and they won't stop until the last whistle."
First draw at Aggie Stadium is 7 p.m. Admission is free.
QUICK STICKS: Junior Elizabeth Landry passed the century mark in career goals in last weekend's win over Fresno State... With 103 total, she sits one shy of Megan O'Connor for 8th in school history... Landry already caught O'Connor for third on the season draw controls list with 56th... She needs three to move ahead of former teammate Hannah Mirza's total of 58 from 2011... Landry already holds the UC Davis benchmark of 72 DCs, set in her freshman year... Meghan Jordan leapt into the No. 7 spot on the career assists list with 54... Jordan Majka picked up two saves (with only one goal allowed) in her relief appearance against Fresno State... With 241 for her career, she will finish at No. 4 on the school's career leaderboard... Hilary Harkins (583), Kristen Braasch (421) and Kate McCall (350) hold to top three spots...
Saint Mary's will bid farewell to a sizable eight-person senior class, although one player in particular has a connection to the Aggie program... Rachel Sunday, a four-year starting defender for the Gaels, is the younger sister of Laura Sunday, who played for UC Davis from 2009-12... Rachel played against her older sister in Laura's finale collegiate game... In fact, Friday marks the seventh time UC Davis has hosted Saint Mary's for its home finale, joining 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 (MPSF tournament), 2008 and 2012.