DAVIS, Calif. - Even though both teams competed through a downpour during the entire first half of Sunday's Big West Conference match at Aggie Soccer Field, UC Davis successfully navigated its way through the inclement conditions, and UC Riverside's defense, by scoring four goals within a 13-minute timespan to earn a 4-0 shutout victory against the Highlanders.
UC Davis will enter its final home match of the season, Friday afternoon against Long Beach State, with a 6-7-3 overall and 2-2-2 Big West record. UC Riverside falls to 3-10-3 and 0-5 with its result.
"We played a very distinct style because of the rain, and the condition of the field. I think there were bits and pieces of how we played today that I would like to add to our repertoire," said UC Davis head coach Twila Kaufman.
Women's soccer's first goal of the day took place in the 16th minute when Sydney Burger's pinpoint pass found Nicole Bouvia racing towards UCR's net. Since two Highlanders initially blocked Bouvia's shooting lane, the senior defender continued dribbling towards the end line until she began to run out of room.
Able to stop in an instant, she then raced towards Highlander goalkeeper Laura Perjanik and forced her to make the first move. After she chose to hug the near post, Bouvia then took two dribbles towards the center of the penalty area to create a better shooting angle and fired a shot that easily beat her counterpart.
Now leading 1-0, UC Davis saw UC Riverside try to create a scoring opportunity of its own and quickly attached the Aggies' third of the field once play restarted. The Highlanders' efforts came up short since UC Davis' midfielders swarmed whoever had the ball, and were able to create a turnover just outside the 18-yard box.
In an instant, another Aggie counterattack was created.
Once the turnover took place, Bouvia began running downfield, as she did on the play leading up to her own goal, and was the recipient of another perfect long ball. This time, is was Mandy McKeegan who created the perfect setup.
With Bouvia dribbling towards the center of the field, Highlander defenders slid towards her direction in an attempt to prevent her from scoring once again in a similar manner. Instead of taking a shot, Bouvia found Rachel Ahr running down the field on the opposite side of the box, kicked the ball across the field towards her teammate and celebrated moments later after that one-touch opportunity became her team's second goal.
That advantage did not last long, however, because immediately after the referee blew his whistle for play to resume, the Aggies created another UCR turnover on its half of the field, which led to another scoring chance.
Celina Minissian's speed helped her catch Highlander midfielders off-guard shortly before the stole the ball, her deft pass to Ahr lead to a blast from 20 yards away that Perjanik had no chance of stopping. By scoring back-to-back goals within 25 seconds of one another, Ahr created a sizable lead for her team with 72 minutes of action still remaining.
With those shots, Ahr became the first Aggie to score twice in a game since she accomplished the feat last season when Denver visited Davis (9/6/15).
In the 28th minute, the Aggies pressed the Highlanders right in front of their goal, which forced a back pass to Perjanik. To avoid committing another miscue, Perjanik punched the ball downfield towards one of her teammates in an attempt to clear the ball to safety. Unfortunately for UC Riverside, that attempt found Minissian's feet instead.
Noticing that Perjanik was outside the 18-yd. box when she intercepted that pass, Minissian quickly set herself and booted the ball towards the far post. With UCR's goalkeeper off her line, Minissian's attempt sailed inside that post, and just under the crossbar, for UC Davis' fourth goal.
Sunday's match marked the first time in nearly a year that the Aggies scored four goals in a game. This offensive outburst last took place when Hawai'i visited campus on Oct. 22.
Senior Day will take place when the Aggies return to action this Friday vs. the 49ers. Even though kickoff is set for 3 p.m., fans are encouraged to arrive to Aggie Soccer Field at least 20 minutes before that to secure seats for the program's senior ceremony.
Links for live stats and a video stream for this match are also available at UCDavisAggies.com.