DAVIS, Calif. -- Facing its second nationally ranked opponent of the regular season, the UC Davis women's soccer team hung tough with the No. 19-ranked team in the country in sweltering conditions on Sunday afternoon, but visiting California scored a goal in each half en route to a, 2-0, victory over the Aggies at the Aggie Soccer Field.
The loss dropped UC Davis to 0-4 on the year, with three of its first four contests decided by a single goal. The Golden Bears bounced back from their first loss of the year to improve to 3-1 overall.
"Obviously, no one wants to have the record that we have right now," Head Coach Twila Kaufman said. "If you had asked me before the season, I would have been okay with whatever the record was as long as we were getting better, which we have.
"I still think this is a team that is capable of beating top-25 opponents, but we have a really young team that has six players who have never played for us, starting, and playing significant minutes, going toe-to-toe with a squad that led us 3-0 at halftime last season."
Junior goalkeeper Alexis Smith, finished with a career high 11 saves while facing 23 total shots on the day, surpassing her previous career-best total of 10 set at Sacramento State on Sept. 2 of last season. It was the highest single-game save total for an Aggie goalkeeper since Taylor Jern stopped 12 shots against Texas Tech on Sept. 20, 2013.
UC Davis was the early aggressor in the seventh minute as Kristie Braken-Guelke sent a long free kick into the box that found the ground and took a hop that forced Golden Bears' goalkeeper Emily Boyd into a leaping fingertip save to punch it over the bar and away from danger.
A barrage of attempts were then sent Smith's way as California turned up the pressure offensively. Four of the next five shots off the feet of Golden Bears were gobbled up by Smith, with another blocked away by the defense, before Smith extended to push aside a shot destined to the upper left corner.
That led up to the first score of the match in the 34th minute as Cal's Luca Deza put the visitors on the board, taking a touch and teeing off on a shot to the left post from distance for the 1-0 lead.
The score remained that way until very late into the second half as both teams substituted liberally trying to maintain fresh legs in the heat of the day. Sydney Burger in the 61st minute forced Boyd into the first of her three second half saves as the Aggies pressed for the equalizer, with freshman Lauren Bouvia finding her way behind the defense and taking a left-footed shot that Boyd was able to get her fingers on and tip over the bar for a corner with less than 10 minutes to play.
"The most awesome thing, and the most frustrating thing, about today's game is that we had three or four opportunities in the first half where we got into the box, we knew exactly what we were doing, we created the goal-scoring opportunity, but the person on the other end of the cross just didn't make a play," Kaufman said.
"The blessing in that is against one of the top teams in the country we were able to fabricate goal-scoring opportunities. The frustrating part was that we weren't able to capitalize."
Miranda Nild then added the dagger for the Golden Bears with just 1:19 remaining in the contest, converting on a turnover and winning a one-on-one battle with Smith for the final score.
Bouvia finished with two shots to pace UC Davis, while five different players finished with three shots apiece for California.
UC Davis returns to action on Friday (Sept. 1), hosting San Francisco at the Aggie Soccer Field. Kick off is scheduled for 4 p.m.
#19 California (3-1 Overall) vs. UC Davis (0-4 Overall)
Date: Aug 27, 2017 Attendance: 319
Weather: fry-an-egg hot, 97 deg., slight breeze
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
California.......... 1 1 - 2
UC Davis............ 0 0 - 0
1. 33:02 CAL Deza, Luca (1) (Clark, Caroline) - one touch, teed up shot to left post
2. 88:41 CAL Nild, Miranda (1) (Clark, Caroline) - turnover on defense, short pass into box, 1-v-1 w/GK
Shots: California 23, UC Davis 6
Saves: California 4 (Boyd, Emily 4), UC Davis 11 (Smith, Alexis 11)