Aggies open Big West play with a win over Hawai'i

Junior goalkeeper Alexis Smith tied the school's career record with her 17th shutout on Thursday against Hawai'i. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
Sept. 28, 2017

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. -- Mckenna Moriarty tallied her first goal of the season in the 36th minute for the only score of the match, while junior goalkeeper Alexis Smith tied the school record with her 17th career shutout, helping lift host UC Davis to a, 1-0, victory over the Rainbow Wahine in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Thursday afternoon at Aggie Soccer Field.

The win snapped a five-match losing skid for the Aggies, who improved to 2-9 overall on the season and 1-0 in league play. The result marked the team's 10th one-goal decision on the year and the fourth consecutive match decided by a 1-0 score.

Hawai'i had its three-match winning streak snapped, falling to 5-5 overall and 0-1 in conference action, out-shooting UC Davis, 19-7, for the match and held an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal.

"I think anytime you get a fresh start, that's a really positive thing," Head Coach Twila Kaufman said. "That's the case with this conference every year, every team in this league is going for it. I don't think our team was thinking a game ahead, let alone five minutes ahead, I think we were in every moment and that's what it takes to win."

Despite the disparity in shots, Smith was up to the task, stopping all 11 attempts -- nine of those coming in the second half with the Rainbow Wahine chasing a goal -- put to her between the pipes en route to the clean sheet, tying Kelly Parker's (1997-00) mark on the all-time list. The 11 stops tied a career high for the materials science and engineering major from San Jose, Calif., matching her total set against then-No. 19 California back on Aug. 27 and accounting for the most saves by a Big West goalkeeper this year.

Meanwhile, at the other end, it was Moriarty's second career goal that put the Aggies in front for good. Senior Mandy McKeegan's corner found the head of Moriarty at the back post, and the sophomore communication major snuck a header between the pole and goalkeeper Alexis Mata for the 1-0 lead.

It was the first goal for Moriarty since finding the back of the net at UC Irvine on Nov. 1, 2015, while McKeegan collected her second assist of the year.

With UC Davis leading at the break for the first time this season, both teams traded corner kicks to open the second half before Hawai'i began to press for the equalizer. The Rainbow Wahine took 13 of their 19 shots in the second period, but could not find their way past Smith, who came up huge down the stretch with numerous point-blank stops to deny Hawai'i, including three saves on attempts by the Rainbow Wahine's leading scorer Sonest Furtado.

"I was just taking things one play at a time and focused on keeping the ball out of the net," Smith said. "I've had a couple of games over the years with a lot of saves, but I think it was a just a great win for us and a great way to start conference play."

Freshman Mahlah Catline and Crystal Crump finished with a pair of shots each for UC Davis, while Raisa Strom-Okimoto and Leialoha Medeiros each finished with four for the Rainbow Wahine.

The Aggies close out a season-long five-match homestand on Thursday (Oct. 5) at 4 p.m., hosting Cal Poly at the Aggie Soccer Field.

NCAA Soccer Game Summary (Final)
Hawai'i (5-5, 0-1 Big West) vs. UC Davis (2-9, 1-0 Big West)
Date: Sep 28, 2017  Attendance: 596
Weather: mid-80s, clear, no breeze

Goals by period       1  2  Tot
Hawai'i……………..  0  0 -  0
UC Davis……………  1  0 -  1

1.  35:15 UCD Moriarty, Mckenna (1) (McKeegan, Mandy) - header at left post off corner

Shots: Hawai'i 19, UC Davis 7
Saves: Hawai'i 2 (Mata, Alexis 2), UC Davis 11 (Smith, Alexis 11)