DAVIS, Calif. -- Defense ruled the day as UC Davis and Saint Mary's combined for just nine shots over 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon, but it was the Gaels who came away with the only score of the match in the 20th minute, lifting the visitors to a 1-0 win over the host Aggies at the Aggie Soccer Field.
UC Davis suffered its fifth consecutive loss -- the last three by 1-0 scores -- and its eighth one-goal defeat of the year, falling to 1-9 heading into next week's Big West Conference opener at home. Saint Mary's improved to 4-6 overall despite being held to just four shots on the day.
"I think that we played some of the best soccer that we've played to date in a couple of different formations and we looked pretty good other than scoring," Head Coach Twila Kaufman said. "We, hopefully, have some players coming back into the mix prior to the start of conference and that will help with the goal scoring, but I also think when goal scorers get hot, they get hot, and there's no reason we can't get a couple and go on a little streak here."
The Gaels struck for the lone goal at the 19:04 mark as Anyssa Dominguez capitalized on a turnover for her first score of the year. Dominguez knocked down a clear attempt and gathered the ball at the top of the box on the right side, taking a touch before firing back across to the left post and in for the 1-0 lead.
Three first-half corner kick opportunities went by the wayside for the Aggies, who had a solid opportunity from distance in the 64th minute as a long free kick by biological sciences major Kristie Braken-Guelke forced Saint Mary's goalkeeper Sonja Rajatalo to punch the ball away at the upper right corner and out for a corner.
Minutes later, sophomore Olivia Jones, a managerial economics major, had a golden opportunity, receiving a pass that threaded the needle between two defenders and found herself 1-v-1 with the goalkeeper. Jones tried to chip the ball over a sliding Rajatalo, but pushed the attempt wide right.
Freshman Mahlah Catline finished with two of the Aggies' five shots to lead the way, while Dominguez -- who nearly had a second goal after winning the ball from a defender and shooting wide left in the 60th minute -- finished with a pair for the Gaels.
"Injuries have forced us into different formations and situations, but it has allowed us to look at our team in a lot of different ways and I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the things we have found," Kaufman said. "I think we have a lot more variety of looks we can give teams in conference when needed."
With the non-conference schedule behind it, UC Davis opens Big West play on Thursday (Sept. 28) at 1:30 p.m., hosting Hawai'i at the Aggie Soccer Field. The match will be the first of a doubleheader with the Aggies' men's team, which opens league play against UC Irvine at 4 p.m.
"The time is now, there's no backing out," Kaufman said. "Our conference is great competition, it's all over the map with who finishes where. We've made steady improvement in the standings year after year and our team has every intention of doing the same this year."
NCAA Soccer Game Summary (Final)
Saint Mary's (4-6 Overall) vs. UC Davis (1-9 Overall)
Date: Sep 23, 2017 Attendance: 321
Weather: blustery, low 80s, clear
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Saint Mary's........ 1 0 - 1
UC Davis............ 0 0 - 0
1. 19:04 SMC Dominguez,Anyssa (1) (unassisted) - miscleared by defense, 1-v-1 w/GK, shot to left post
Shots: Saint Mary's 4, UC Davis 5
Saves: Saint Mary's 1 (Rajatalo,Sonja 1), UC Davis 1 (Smith, Alexis 1)
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.
DON'T MISS OUT!
Season and single-game tickets for all UC Davis fall sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.