IRVINE, Calif. -- Senior Mandy McKeegan put home a rebound off her own penalty kick attempt in the 89th minute for the lone goal of the match, while the defense limited UC Irvine to just three shots on goal to post its second shutout of the season, lifting visiting UC Davis to a, 1-0, victory over the Anteaters in a battle of Big West Conference unbeatens on Thursday night at Anteater Stadium.
The win is the third straight for the Aggies, who improved to 4-9 overall and continued their best-ever start in Big West play at 3-0. UC Davis' three consecutive wins marks its longest winning streak since it won three straight from Sept. 20 - Oct. 1, 2015.
Holding a 10-8 advantage in shots for the match, UC Irvine fell to 8-4-4 overall and suffered its first league defeat of the year, falling to 3-1-1.
McKeegan, a neurobiology, physiology, and behavior major from Manhattan Beach, Calif., tallied her third goal of the year -- and second game-winning strike -- with just 1:54 remaining in the match after teammate Mahlah Catline was wrestled to the ground on the left side of the box, trying to win the ball from a pair of defenders.
McKeegan then stepped to the spot and fired a low line drive to the left of goalkeeper Maddie Newsom, but she was unable to handle the rebound as the Aggies pounced on the loose ball. McKeegan won the race and chipped the ball over Newsom and into an empty net for the eventual game-winner.
"I went up there with confidence, didn't think twice about it and, when I saw the rebound, I said 'I'm putting this one away,' " McKeegan said. "We've got fight. It's been such a fun season, we've battled hard all year, and we're having a lot of fun together."
Junior goalkeeper Alexis Smith made three saves on the night to tally her school-record 18th career shutout but, perhaps, none more important than the one she made in the 15th minute on another penalty kick attempt following a handball in the box, this one off the foot of the Anteaters' Andrea Mensen, pushing the ball wide to her left to keep the match scoreless.
It was Smith's second stop on a penalty attempt this year, the first coming at San Diego State on Aug. 20, as she surpassed Kelly Parker (1997-00) for the top spot on the school's all-time list. The materials science and engineering major from San Jose, Calif., also denied Grayson Galbraith from 30 yards out in the 64th minute, and turned away another by Noel Baham in the 78th minute, to keep the match scoreless.
Newsom was tested by the Aggies throughout the night, forced into six saves -- four of those coming in the second half. McKeegan put all four of her attempts on frame as UC Davis put seven of its eight shots on goal for the match.
The Aggies close out their trip to Southern California on Sunday (Oct. 15), taking on Cal State Fullerton in a 2 p.m. kick off at Titan Stadium.
NCAA Soccer Game Summary (Final)
UC Davis (4-9-0, 3-0-0) vs. UC Irvine (8-4-4, 3-1-1)
Date: Oct 12, 2017 Attendance: 485
Weather: Bright lights
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UC Davis……....….. 0 1 - 1
UC Irvine………..…. 0 0 - 0
1. 88:06 UCD McKeegan, Mandy (3) (unassisted) - PK missed, rebound converted
Shots: UC Davis 8, UC Irvine 10
Saves: UC Davis 3 (Smith, Alexis 3), UC Irvine 6 (Newsom, Maddie 6)
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.
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