DAVIS, Calif. -- UC Davis battled visiting Portland to a near stalemate through 82 minutes on Friday afternoon, but a late own goal in favor of the Pilots with 8:06 remaining in regulation proved to be the decisive score as the Aggies fell, 1-0, in a non-conference battle at Aggie Soccer Field.
It was the third consecutive match decided by a single goal for UC Davis (0-3), which had a number of solid looks throughout the day, but could not find the back of the net. Portland improved to 2-1 on the young season with the win, limited to just five shots on frame.
"I thought our team played really good soccer today," Head Coach Twila Kaufman said. "It's a shame that a match can come down to something like an own goal when you're doing so many things right, but I don't think that's indicative of this team's ability to win. It's never going to be okay here not to win, but we also need to count the things that are going right for us and this is a team that is progressing so beautifully."
Opening a run of four straight contests at home and battling a bout of stomach flu that swept through the team, the teams were locked in a defensive battle en route to a scoreless first half, with goalkeeper Alexis Smith making a stop on a long shot attempt in the opening 10 minutes and got two clears near the line on dangerous crosses in the 20th and 38th minutes.
The Aggies put both of their first-half attempts on frame as freshman Mahlah Catline -- making her season debut -- had a long chip gobbled up by Portland keeper Rachel Lusby at the post in the 15th minute, while transfer Daniella Giancarli unleashed a rocket from 25 yards at the top of the box that was turned away by Lusby in the 41st minute.
Following another Smith save early in the second half, diving to the right post to deny Rylee Seekins, UC Davis had its first solid chance in the 48th minute. Freshman Oreoluwa Aderibigbe forced a turnover in the Pilots' defensive third, turning her defender, and firing to the left side where Lusby was waiting to make the stop.
Junior Kristina Sola, who led the Aggies with three shots on the day, came off the bench and provided a spark for the offense, taking all three of her attempts within an 18-minute span midway through the second period, one stopped by the defense just inside the 18 and another saved by Lusby after Sola shook her defender and launched a shot from 20 yards.
With time ticking away, Portland finally got the break both teams were looking for as Kimberly Hazlett got loose down the right side and crossed a ball into the box at the back post where it was bounced in to the goal by a UC Davis defender for the match's lone score.
"I think the focus right now is figuring out how to play to win while playing to get better," Kaufman said. "We've been saying all year that's it's not about our opponents, it's not about you or me, it's about 'us' and I think, if you watched us play today, that you can say we're headed in the right direction."
The Aggies return to the field on Sunday (Aug. 27) at 1 p.m., hosting No. 19 California.
Portland (2-1 Overall) vs. UC Davis (0-3 Overall)
Date: Aug 25, 2017 Attendance: 173
Weather: 91 deg.; clear, 57% humidity, breeze-less
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Portland............ 0 1 - 1
UC Davis............ 0 0 - 0
1. 81:54 POR OWN GOAL (unassisted) - cross by Portland #6, knocked into the net by UC Davis defender
Shots: Portland 9, UC Davis 9
Saves: Portland 4 (LUSBY, Rachel 4), UC Davis 4 (Smith, Alexis 4)