STOCKTON, Calif. - Ashley Edwards drilled a shot past Pacific goalkeeper Tashia Long, on a penalty kick in the 57th minute of Friday's non-conference match at Knoles Field, to help UC Davis leave Stockton with a 1-0 win.
By capturing a victory in its final contest before the start of Big West action on Oct. 10, at Long Beach State, UC Davis improves its record to 3-5-2. With the result, Pacific falls to 1-7-2 on the year.
"This was a fun game to watch between two teams that battled from start to finish. We knew that Pacific is a physical team that likes to create as many 1v1 opportunities as possible. Our team play was phenomenal today; the midfielders and forwards were able to create numerous scoring opportunities, our defenders dug deep near the end of the game to make the plays needed for us to win," said head coach Maryclaire Robinson.
Whistled for a hand ball in the early moments of the second half in its own 18-yard box, Pacific could only stand and watch Edwards connect on her first penalty kick opportunity of the season.
After receiving the go-ahead from the referee, Edwards calmly approached the ball and connected on a shot that flew past Long, to her left, to notch her second game-winner in 2013.
"Before I took the shot, I picked my spot and knew where I had to put the ball," said Edwards. Even if the 'keeper knows where I am going to aim, I know that I can still kick it past her. I did not want to miss that shot... once I scored, I wanted to help my team score again to help build our lead."
"Teams are too good nowadays with the parity that exists in women's soccer today. When you have an opportunity like that (penalty kick), you have to bury it," said Robinson.
Armed with a one-goal lead, UC Davis continued to attack Pacific's net when the opportunity presented itself; Lexi Poppoff nearly doubled her teams lead with 15 minutes remaining before she was turned away by Long at the last moment.
"Lexi is very strong and very tough, that opportunity was created by her because of what she brings to the game. She is able to recognize defenses quickly, and react accordingly," said Robinson.
In the latter moments of the first half, UC Davis came mere inches away from entering halftime with a 1-0 advantage. In what turned out to be the most dangerous scoring opportunity by either team throughout the first 45 minutes, a shot from Edwards was tipped off the crossbar by Long out-of-bounds. Instead of scoring the first goal of the evening, UC Davis was forced to settle for a corner kick -- one of four opportunities earned by the Aggies prior to the break.
"Seeing that shot bounce off the goalpost made me angry, if anything, because I thought that shot had a great chance of going in," said Edwards after game when asked to reflect on her play in the first half.
For the game, UC Davis outshot Pacific, 12-8, and was responsible for all seven corner kicks taken throughout the evening.
Aggie goalkeeper Taylor Jern recorded five saves, but was not tested until the final moments of the game when Pacific fired its final shot, of a free kick, towards a pile of players that fought for space in front of the Aggies' goal.
Once Jern gained possession of the loose ball, she punted a shot down the pitch to safety, milking the final seconds off the clock in the process.
"Even though Pacific now competes in the West Coast Conference, that team provided a great opportunity for my team to understand how physical other Big West teams will play. To get the quality chances that we had, against a team like Pacific, is a great way to prepare for our upcoming games. Now we will have a little time off to rest and prepare (for Long Beach State)."